ISLAMABAD, Feb 25: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) declared on Monday that holders of dual nationality could not hold any office in a political party.
The commission was hearing a petition challenging the qualification of Dr Tahirul Qadri to head his party, Pakistan Awami Tehrik, because of his Canadian nationality. Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim and Sindh ECP Member Justice (retd) Roshan Essani did not attend the hearing.
The petition was filed by Communist Party’s Chairman Javed Malik who argued that Dr Qadri was heading a political party enlisted with the commission in violation of the law which required office-bearers of parties to be qualified to be elected as members of parliament.
He said Dr Qadri had recently entered into an agreement with the government as chairman of the PAT. A copy of the agreement was submitted as evidence.
Under Section 5(1) of the Political Parties Order of 2002: “Every citizen, not being in the service of Pakistan, shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party or be otherwise associated with a political party or take part in political activities or be elected as an office-bearer of a political party, provided that a person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the majlis-i-shoora (parliament) under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or under any other law for the time being in force.”
The commission endorsed the legal position but said that according to its information Dr Qadri was only a member of the party, following which the application was withdrawn.