21 August, 2014 / Shawwal 24, 1435

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim presiding over a meeting of the election commission. — INP/File Photo

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but said that according to its information Dr Qadri was only a member of the party, following which the application was withdrawn.

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Comments (28) (Closed)

TK from USA
Feb 27, 2013 07:33pm
Because it is a Law! EC and Judiciary are not making political decisions, they are to make sure that law is followed and enforced in its true spirit.
Feb 26, 2013 01:36pm
Getting other nationalities should generally be discouraged in the best interest of the nation
Amir Dewani
Feb 27, 2013 04:47pm
Dual nationality holders will keep on sending money for their families in any case. They are not interested in the least to indulge in the rotten politics of Pakistan. Some culprits holding dual nationalities are ruling the political parties from London, Dubai etc. Why no such persons of Indian or Bangladesh etc are doing this sort of politics from outside? It is like taking advantage of the corrupt culture, ignorance and illiteracy at large. Dual nationality and bogus degrees holding politicians are the ugly faces of those culprits. The CEC must black list them, blacken their faces and see that they are duly punished before they are allowed to leave this country. The moulvi from a foreign country could be a good test case for this purpose. Please put him on the exit control list.But, nothing will happen.
p r sharma
Feb 27, 2013 04:44pm
As per section 5 (1) of the political parties Order 2002 as mentioned in the news clip dual nationality holder( not eligible to contest election to become a member of National or provincial Assembly) can neither be office bearer( of a political party) nor take part in the political activities . Constitution does not permit the dual nationality holder to be MPA / MNA . Not allowing a person to take part in political activities (either becoming an ordinary member or by holding a posts of office bearer of a political party ) is depriving him/ her of the fundamental rights conferred by the constitution and this section 5(1) of the political Order 2002 can be challenged in Supreme Court.
Syed A, Zafar USA
Feb 27, 2013 08:43am
Although it is a big and growing issue and it should be resolved asap, but the question is why at this particular time when elections are few weeks away, right wing opposition parties have full support of mainstream media and institutions and the current judiciary and EC who seem to be two sides of one coin are in full power and practice to make or break things in Pakistan as per needs and wants of their right wing supporters? I also wonder why this issue was not raised or tackled by the Judiciary/EC of the past when today's opposition parties and a-likes were in power? The question is: Would there be a free, and fair elections under this kind of judicio/political environment, especially when EC seem to be playing a partial role under the control and directives of the judiciary? I wonder how the chairman of ECP Mr. Fakhruddin can play a role of an honest umpire when he has been an active supporter of right wing's mob politics during CJ saga? This situation raises many questions and give way to speculations. I think most people will say no to those who have dual nationalities and want to be part of power and politics in Pakistan because of conflict of interest and legal technicalities. But it needs national and parliamentary debates not the political decisions of judiciary and EC in my opinion. I wonder why such steps/decisions became so necessary for judiciary and EC to take just after the arrival and show down of Mr. Qadri's can do power? Who feels threatened and scared politically from Mr. Qadri and why? and what Judiciary and EC has to do to throw punches on Mr. Qadri on behalf of those who opposed Mr. Qadri because he talked sense and has the ability to put an end to their political business? Does not it seem the same political schematic used against Mr. Musharraf to stop him coming and taking part in coming elections? Same seems to be the approach/schematic of judiciary and EC to use military and go door to door in Karachi to dig in something in favor of those parties who have no footings in Sind in general and Karachi in particular. Again the question is why we need political reforms in Karachi only? why not in land of pure and other provinces? Do not they need reforms too? are they election clean? I think the judiciary and the EC still have chance to come clean and treat every party, every individual and every province equally and impartially. Zameer-e-insan agar sadaa day toe sadaaqatein aankhein kholtee hain aur QASR-E-INSAAF bhee goonjtaa hai" (It takes conscience) zafarsyed40@yahoo.com
Feb 27, 2013 06:59am
The real tragedy of Pakistan is that it is not Parliament which makes the laws as is mostly in the world but it is the Judges of various courts especially Supreme Court and now Election Commissioner who are enacting laws. Without entering in the merits of this declaration, this shows how weak is our Parliament and of course country that any body can dictate what should be done. Tahir Qadri is another example of this situation.
Mustafa Razavi
Feb 27, 2013 06:55pm
So is Imran Khan!!. Who knows how many Sharifs, Zardaris and Bhuttos are also UK nationals. Imran Khan is honest enough to declare it.
Feb 27, 2013 04:25pm
Why is this a concern with TUQ when Bilawal is the Chairman of PPP for almost 5 years? Pakistani officials wasting their energy on a person who doesn't even hold office yet; not an iota of focus on current parliamentarians of PPP and PMLN holding dual nationalities? Right has to be implemented across the board, or the image of Pakistan dips down further. Lest we forget, the image of Pakistan was destroyed by the very same people who have written and re-written our constitution. Dual national may run for office in Canada, it's the pledge of allegiance that satisfies their loyalty. Similarly, every Parliamentarian in Pakistan should take a pledge of allegiance to Pakistan and Pakistan only; incorporate this in to their oath. If dual nationality is a huge concern, then also incorporate "I do not hold any other nationality besides Pakistani citizenship" - Automatically their 'other' host countries will issue them the notices, all the ill will come out. The false oath will oust them, no need to read through the constitution.
Feb 27, 2013 01:07am
Is that mean people living in big palaces in Lahore or Islamabad understand the suffering of people? This law is ridiculous and it should change. People who live abroad are as patriotic with country as people lives in the country.
Feb 26, 2013 11:45pm
Sadly we seemed to have lost the common sense and are too pro-occupied with trivial matters. If I remember correctly even Mohammed Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan, was a holder of British passport. Pakistan relies heavily on foreign exchange remittance and yet the very people who benefit from national patriotism of overseas Pakistani - despise them. Oh Pakistanis you are indeed a strange breed. You like their money but don't want share anything with them. Pakistanis went overseas for employment, they applied for foreign passports - because: a) Its easier to travel around. b) Your consulate staff are rude and ignorant breed. c) People travelling on Pakistanis passport are likley to be less welcome.
Feb 26, 2013 03:53pm
Good. If you are so concerned about Pakistan, then give up your foreign nationality if you want to be politically active there. Face the music, without the option of running away when things get tough!
Feb 26, 2013 03:53pm
Does that mean that Altaf Hussian (MQM) will be no more the head of MQM? ECP needs to wake up to the ground realities. But then our laws are from the pre-historic times so what can be said.
Feb 26, 2013 04:37pm
Do elections have anything to do with political parties? Answer: Yes, of course. Political parties are central to the elections process. Does the Election Commission have anything to do with elections? Answer: (I am sure you dont need to be a PhD in political science to understand whether it is "Yes" or "No").
Feb 26, 2013 10:08pm
Anyone born abroad, or having a dual nationality should not be allowed to represent Pakistan or its people in a political capacity whatsoever. However, they should be allowed to cast their vote. Because of failure in this area Israel has taken over the United States at every level and post and making decisions in its own favor rather than for US. This should no longer be allowed in Pakistan.
Feb 26, 2013 04:54pm
MR ECP and Chief JUSTICE of Supreme court . Please apply your rule justly and uniformly to every political party officials who hold dual passports , why only Dr Qadri , i am not his fun,
Feb 26, 2013 05:56am
Who is the head of the party of which Dr. Qadri is the member?
Feb 26, 2013 06:45am
What about Altaf Hussain? Isn't he a UK national?
Mustafa Razavi
Feb 26, 2013 06:59am
The Suomoto fever is catching on. Does the election commission have anything to do with party posts?
Feb 26, 2013 07:12am
And what are we meant to do with the likes of Zardari, Bilawal, Altaf ... and the list goes on....
Feb 26, 2013 07:13am
Yes, holders of dual nationality or those holding resident permit or resident of any other country should not be allowed to contest elections or hold any important public office in Pakistan, however they can be appointed as consultant or on contract to benefit from their skills.
Pro Truth
Feb 27, 2013 02:06pm
A Pakistani national can vote and stand for election in British elections even without obtaining British nationality! Their loyalty still not challenged! Pakistan ki ganga ulti beh rahi hey! Are Zardari and Nawaz Sharif dual nationals? but they still opt to move all their money abroad and invest in all countries but not in Pakistan - their loyalty is not questioned! What a country!
Feb 26, 2013 09:47am
Ferver of democratic spirit would never allow dual nationals to run the election and so is true to be a political party memmber. I salute the election commission to inspire to its true and pure sense.
Shehzad Ahmed
Feb 26, 2013 09:56am
This is strange that people who lived most of their life abroad such as late Benazir and now her son Bilawal can participate in Election, people who have fake degree can be president but people who are educated with international exposure are debarred from participating in any kind of activity. God luck Pakistan. Its time Pakistan should make some positive changes. If we cast out educated people with good experience how are we going to be progressive?
Feb 26, 2013 07:55pm
I may be wrong but I think he does not hold any ' official position ' in the party.
Anthony Mendes
Feb 26, 2013 12:42pm
Thats a good decision, how can people living with their families abroad understand the pain and suffering of the people in the country. Its only the greed factor that pushes them to grab a political seat and any one can pose being innocent and kosher(halal). Hypocrisy has to end. Dont fool the simple people of Pakistan.
Feb 26, 2013 01:40pm
Why people don't have guts to challenge other leaders being a party leader with dual national and go after TUQ only?
Feb 26, 2013 01:41pm
There is always a smoke screen.Just being a member, Qadri can control the party which he does. He is not the only one, Altaf Hussain has been the head of MQM for more than 20 years, has dual nationality.
Feb 26, 2013 03:36pm
Dual nationals can't have any rights in Pakistan EXCEPT provide with donations in times of need when the single nationals have wasted all the wealth!