Registrar Supreme Court (SC) while replying answer, posed by presidential spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar, to the house through Law Ministry had said that neither the Constitution nor the Code of Conduct prescribed for the judges of the Supreme Court, placed an embargo for dual nationals to become a judge.
Interestingly the Federal Shariat Court replying the same question categorically stated that that neither its chief justice nor any judge of the court held dual nationality.
The lawmakers of PPP out rightly said that after the decision of the Supreme Court in Dr Tahirul Qadri case, no one from the constitutional offices including the judges of the apex court could hold dual nationality though there was no such bar in the Constitution. The house made a heated debate during the question hour session despite the fact the rules did not permit such discussion until the Rule 60 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the House would not be invoked.
Senator Farhatullah Babar, the mover of the question, said everyone knew that Constitution did not bar the Supreme Court judges for having dual nationality but the question, asked for the second time, was very simple and understandable. "It was asked to describe the names of those judges having dual nationality," he said, adding though he hoped the judges of the apex court might not be holding dual nationality yet the answer had raised suspicions that some of the judges were dual nationals.
"Either the question of the Parliament was circumvented by the judges or some judges hold dual nationality," he said saying he did not want to insinuate. Referring to the decision of the Supreme Court in Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri, he said the decision says, " You (Dr Qadri) are showing allegiance not only to Queen Elizabeth but her successors. As well." He said that by the same logic it would be strange if an honourable judge sought to impose adherence to the Constitution when his own loyalty was divided because of possible dual nationality. He questioned how the dual nationality judges could sack an elected Prime Minister and could overturn the ruling of the Speaker National Assembly. "I believe there are no dual nationality holder judges but the reply given has raised some doubts that need to be allayed," he said and urged the judges to show respect towards the Parliament.
M Hamza of PML-N also became part of the voices of the treasury benches and said that such information should be provided to the Senate being a national constitutional body. "The Law Minister should convey the concerns to the SC," he added.
Zafar Ali Shah of PML-N endorsed the viewpoint of treasury benches that the people working in any constitutional bodies including judiciary could not hold dual nationality and held responsible President Asif Ali Zaradi with whose final signature judges were appointed. He said that the President should make a thorough scrutiny before appointing the judges. While Zahid Khan of Awami National Party (ANP) questioned the role of the parliamentary committee on appointment of judges and said that it should thoroughly look into the issue of dual nationality of judges before giving its recommendation on any case..
Dr Babar Awan said that after the decision of the SC in Dr Tahirul Qadri case, the dual national even could not knock the doors of the court, however Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan later remarked that this was the wrong interpretation of the decision.
He also said the law and Code of Conduct on dual nationality had become irrelevant after the announcement of the decision. He said all institutions that have involvement in the appointment of judges must look into the matter of dual nationality of the judges.
Senator Saeed Ghani said that suspicions had risen that some judges held dual nationality after the reply of the Registrar. While Aitzaz Ahsan said the parliamentary committee had limited role in the appointment of judges and in other word it had become redundant. He said that reply was vague that raised doubts some judges were dual nationals. He said that the oath taken by the judges barred them from holding dual nationals.
Law Minister Farooq H Naek clarified that after the after the passage of 18th and 19th Amendments, the modus operandi of the appointment of judges had changed and the President had no role in the appointment of judges. He said judges had final say in all the judicial commissions on the appointment of judges byy virtue of their composition.