Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading the three-member bench during hearing of the petition seeking the reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Monday asked Dr Tahirul Qadri to satisfy the court over what legal justifications he had for filing the petition and what was his right of claim?
Dr Tahirul Qadri replied that he was the citizen of Pakistan and Canada and added that the documents relating to immigration would be submitted in due course.
The court asked Dr Qadri to submit documents pertaining to his foreign nationality.
Dr Tahirul Qadri said this was his first appearance before the Supreme Court, adding that he had taken part in the restoration of the judiciary.
Dr Qadri said that he acquired Canadian citizenship in 2005 after resigning from the national assembly.
Then, Chief Justice said this makes it evident that you are the citizen of Canada for a long time and there is a bar on your becoming a member of parliament under Article 63.
The Chief Justice ordered Tahirul Qadri to submit a comprehensive reply regarding his right to file a petition for the reconstitution of the ECP by Tuesday.
Qadri informed the court that he was both a citizen of Pakistan and a Canadian national. He added that he had applied for citizenship in 1999.
“One thing is clear: you can not be a member of parliament, because, according to the constitution, a dual-national can not become a lawmaker,” said Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.
The bench inquired if he had acquired foreign nationality due to any threats, to which he replied that he had not attained Canadian nationality on the basis of any dangers to his life.
“After acquiring citizenship, one has to take an oath of allegiance. With all due respect, you are violating this oath,” remarked the chief justice. “How can somebody who takes an oath of allegiance to another country be loyal to Pakistan?”
The bench ordered Qadri to submit in court documents pertaining to his Canadian nationality, and adjourned further hearing to Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters later outside the SC, Qadri said that the Pakistani constitution allows voters to hold dual nationality.
“The law prohibits only elected representatives from holding dual nationality. However, according to the law, a Pakistani voter can hold nationalities of certain countries,” he said.
Earlier today, Qadri said he did not believe his petition could lead to a delay in the upcoming general elections, adding that his objective was to ensure that transparent polls be held in the country.
Qadri said the ECP had to fulfill the criterion of transparency in accordance with the Constitution.