LHC seeks replies from federal government, ECP

LAHORE – Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday sought replies from federal government and Election Commission of Pakistan on a petition seeking disqualification of a PML-N MPA Rana Asif on dual nationality grounds.
The chief justice recorded the arguments of Justice (r) Jamshaid Rehmatul Allah, counsel of MPA, and Saiful Malook Advocate, counsel for petitioner Ilyas Saddique.
During the course of hearing, Advocate Saiful Malook informed the court that Supreme Court had suspended on interim relief the assembly membership of some dual nationality holders including Farah Naz Isphani and Rehman Malik irrespective of establishing the difference between citizenship and nationality. Following the superior judiciary, the LHC should also suspend the membership of PML-N leader, Malook argued. Citing Article 63(1)(C) of the constitution, Malook said the article had no ambiguity and attracts the disqualification of Rana Asif.
Malook produced the copies of Canadian laws regarding the citizenship and nationality before the court and contended there was no difference between citizenship and nationality.
“In view of the constitution of Canada and United States, there is clear difference between the concepts of oath when nationality of both countries is acquired. After oath, US constitution bounds its citizens to fight for the country even in warlike situation, however, the Canadian constitution doesn’t bound its people,” MPA’s counsel Justice (r) Jamshaid Rehmatul Allah pointed out.
After recording arguments of both parties the court observed that prima facie the disqualification of Rana Asif was attracted in view of the documents placed by the petitioner’s counsel before the documents.
The chief justice observed the court would hear arguments in detail before announcing final judgment on the disqualification case. The court directed the federal government and ECP to submit their reports and para-wise comments till July 26.
Petitioner had submitted the MPA was having an overseas identity card which is granted only to a Pakistani citizen who had secured passport of another country as well. He alleged that respondent MPA was a Canadian national and under the article 63 of the Constitution a person holding dual nationality could not be elected as member of the national or provincial assembly.
He further contended Rana Asif was a Muslim but elected as Punjab Assembly member in general elections 2008 against one of the seats reserved for non-Muslims. He said Asif is also the citizen of Canada and for such reasons, portfolio of provincial finance minister was taken back from him, he pointed out and added that his membership might be suspended till the final order of the court as the Supreme Court had done in dual nationality case.
 The petitioner alleged that Rana Asif was elected as member of Punjab Assembly on seat reserved for non-Muslims minorities.
He told Rana Asif was dual nationality holder. He is Canadian national as well as Pakistani and in the light of the decision of the SC he is ineligible for holding Canadian nationality, the petitioner added.