Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday withdrew its notices over dual-nationality case of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif after Punjab opposition leader Raja Riaz said that his statement was misinterpreted, DawnNews reported.

Riaz had allegedly said in a statement that Mr Sharif held dual nationality. Consequently, the apex court summoned the chief minister to state if the claim made by the opposition leader was correct.

Mr Sharif had claimed that he was a citizen of Pakistan by birth and had never applied or sought any other nationality. This was also reaffirmed by the declaration on oath submitted by him to the Election Commission of Pakistan at the time of filing nomination papers.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard the dual nationality case.

The attorney of Riaz said that his client’s statement was misinterpreted. “When he was answering a question of the media, he gave the statement on the basis of rumors and speculations.” Adding that, he said that “his client never said that the chief minister had dual-nationality.”

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that the Opposition leader could have clarified his statement. Adding that, he said that “Now the case has been registered in the apex court, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will investigate the case.”

Riaz said that he had the evidence that he did not mean to imply that Shahbaz Sharif was a dual-national. He said that if the newspapers and media organizations, who published/broadcasted the story, should present the evidence.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that there was also need to formulate code of conduct for journalism.

After consulting both parties to the case, the Supreme Court decided to withdraw the issued notices.

The apex court ruled that action would not be taken against any party.

The apex court showed its displeasure over the absence of Interior Minister Rehman Malik. The court ordered him to appear before the court on Thursday along with the list of the dual-national lawmakers.

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