An official of the Election Commission said it would not be possible for the secretariats to ignore the letter as it had the force of a Supreme Court order behind it.— File Photo by Dawn

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission (EC) has sent letters to the secretaries of the two houses of parliament and the four provincial assemblies seeking fresh declarations from the lawmakers affirming that they do not hold nationality of any country other than Pakistan.

According to sources, the secretaries have been asked to send their replies to the commission within two weeks.

An official of the Election Commission said it would not be possible for the secretariats to ignore the letter as it had the force of a Supreme Court order behind it.

He said all the lawmakers were required to attest before the secretaries concerned their affidavits affirming that they did not hold dual nationality. The draft of the affidavit had also been sent with the commission’s letter, the official said.

The Election Commission had earlier written letters on Aug 29 to the secretaries of the Senate and the national and provincial assemblies and Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Overseas Pakistanis, seeking details within 15 days about legislators holding dual nationality.

The wording of the response from both the houses of parliament was the same, showing that the draft was a collective effort.

Both the houses said there was no provision under the rules of business to obtain such details from members of parliament.

Saying that they did not possess such record, the secretaries pointed out that the Election Commission got nomination papers and declarations from the candidates at the time of elections and maintained the record after scrutiny.

They advised the commission to directly seek the information from the members.

The Balochistan Assembly also said it had no record about dual nationality of lawmakers. The provincial assemblies of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa did not bother to respond to the EC’s letter. The ministries also chose to ignore the letter.

Punjab was the only province whose assembly secretariat was reported to have started the process for obtaining details from the members.

The 15 days given by the commission lapsed on Sept 13. A full bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in its short order in the dual nationality case had instructed the Election Commission to examine the cases of the parliamentarians and members of provincial assemblies individually by obtaining fresh declarations.

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