ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court summoned on Wednesday complete details of senior government officers as well as members of the judiciary having dual nationality.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while hearing a separate case, ordered Establishment Division Secretary Maroof Afzal to submit within a fortnight the names of dual national civil servants from grade 17 to 22.

Similarly, the registrars of all superior courts, including the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court and five high courts, were directed to furnish a similar list of dual national judges within 15 days.

The issue became a sticking point after the Supreme Court had in its Sept 20, 2012 judgement shut the doors forever for dual national lawmakers by disqualifying 11 members of parliament and provincial assemblies. The verdict was issued by a three-judge SC bench headed by then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on a petition moved by a citizen from Karachi.

In its Sept 20, 2012 judgement, apex court disqualified 11 legislators for being citizens of more than one country

The judgement had asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to obtain fresh declarations on oath from the legislators to examine their cases individually. The court ordered the ECP to de-notify the politicians straightaway because no reference was required from the National Assembly speaker or the Senate chairman to the CEC under Article 63(2) of the Constitution, as was done in the case of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, in view of the established fact that they had acquired citizenship of foreign states.

The politicians were found guilty of corrupt practices in terms of Section 78 of the Representation of Peoples Act (RPA) 1976 and the court directed the CEC to initiate legal proceedings against them under Section 82 of the RPA which envisages a jail term of up to three years.

The ECP was required to register cases against them under Section 193 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) which asks for a punishment of up to seven years for providing false evidence during judicial proceedings; Section 196 for using evidence known to be false; Section 197 for issuing or signing false certificate; 198 Section for using as true a certificate known to be false; and Section 199 for false statement made in declaration which is by law receivable as evidence.

The disqualified legislators had been asked to return what they had earned from the exchequer.

When the Senate had on Feb 6, 2014 taken up the issue of judges with dual nationality, the Supreme Court judges held a meeting to discuss the Senate proceedings and came up with an announcement that none of them held dual nationality.

The Senate had taken up the matter when then law minister Pervaiz Rashid informed the house that his ministry had written to the Supreme Court registrar three letters seeking the names of judges having dual nationality, but received no response from the latter.

A brief statement issued after the full court meeting “for general information” had stated: “Even otherwise, the Constitution or the Code of Conduct for Judges of the Superior Courts place(s) no bar on judges having dual nationality.”

The Federal Shariat Court had also come up with a similar reply stating that neither the chief justice nor any judge of the court held dual nationality.

Retirement benefits

Hearing a suo motu case regarding non-payment of retirement benefits by a number of banks, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar summoned United Bank Limited President Seema Kamil on Wednesday and inquired about her salary. The UBL president said she received a monthly salary of Rs3 million.

The chief justice then compared her salary with former employee Raja Mohammad Sarfraz who had filed an application in the court for an increase in his monthly pension of Rs1,321.

The chief justice wondered how Raja Sarfraz, a diabetic with six daughters, could survive with such a meagre pension and observed that it seemed the individual was kind of a super natural who did not need food or medicine if he got sick.

The court regretted that the bank authorities considered their employees as worthless creatures who worked day and night as young employees.

The court also referred to the cases employees Khushal Bibi and Manzoor Fatima, who receive monthly pensions of Rs243.72 and Rs360, respectively.

The case will be taken up on Thursday.

In a separate case, a different bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa ordered the arrest of seven officers of the Rawalpindi police having fake educational degrees.

The bench ordered the trial court, which granted bail to the officers namely Mohammad Ayub, Jahangir Akhtar, Arshad Mahmood, Majid Ali, Mohammad Dilpazir, Bunyad Hussain and Ghalib Hussain, to retry the case and decide it on merit.

The officers are also required to furnish surety bonds before the trial court.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2018



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