ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed on Wednesday that one judge each of the Lahore and Sindh high courts possessed dual nationality by birth.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a suo motu case about dual nationals.

The bench read out the reports of the registrars of the Supreme Court and the high courts stating that no official of the courts held dual nationality. Similarly no judge of the high courts of Peshawar, Balochistan and Islamabad and the Federal Shariat Court is dual national.

However, one judge of the Lahore High Court, Justice Jawwad Hassan, and one of the SHC, Justice K.K. Agha, held dual nationality by birth, the reports said. About the lower judiciary, the court was told that in Punjab, two judges — Ashfaq Ahmad Rana and Farkhanda Arsha — held dual nationality whereas Rashda Asad in Sindh and Farukh Ataullah Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were dual nationals. One lower judiciary judge in Islamabad, Samia Noreen, also holds the nationality of a foreign country.

Later, Establishment Secretary Maroof Afzal, who had been summoned by the court, told the bench that out of 14 groups of civil servants, four fell under the establishment division from which seven officials had been identified for having dual nationality.

Out of 43 ministries, autonomous bodies and divisions, only 20 had provided the information whereas reports from 23 other departments were awaited, the secretary said.

The court nominated the establishment secretary as the coordinator to ensure collection of the information to be submitted to the court in two weeks.

The court also issued notices to the chief secretaries of the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and observed that it would consider whether those who had taken oath of allegiance to other countries fell within the category of conflict of interest. The court made it clear that concealment of dual nationality would have serious legal consequences and said that it would also examine the need for a law to check dual nationality of civil servants at a time when a number of parliamentarians had been disqualified for having dual nationality.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2018