ECP ordered to withhold notifications of senators-elect believed to be dual nationals
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to withhold notifications announcing the victory of senators-elect believed to be holding dual nationalities.
During the hearing of a suo motu case concerning civil servants holding dual nationality, Justice Nisar inquired how many senators were dual nationals.
The attorney general (AG) then told the court that four senators-elect, including Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) Chaudhry Sarwar, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's sister Sadia Abbasi, and the PML-N's Nuzhat Sadiq and Haroon Akhtar, possessed dual nationality.
PTI's Sarwar is believed to be a UK national, while Nuzhat Sadiq and PM Abbasi's sister Sadia hold a US nationality, ECP Secretary Babar Yaqoob, who was representing the body, told the court.
Akhtar had previously denied holding a foreign nationality, but the interior ministry had confirmed that he was a Canadian citizen, Yaqoob said.
The ECP secretary said that the senators holding dual nationality had submitted affidavits claiming that they have given up their nationality of the other country, but had not submitted any legal documents confirming the same.
The Supreme Court (SC) subsequently ordered the ECP to withhold the notifications of the senators in question.
The CJP, during the course of the hearing, remarked that if the people who were entrusted to pass the laws of the country were dual nationals, they could "pass on classified information and escape to another country".
The case was adjourned until March 8.
The AG's claim that PTI senator-elect Sarwar possessed dual nationality elicited a strong response from the party. PTI's media cell released a statement along with a document from the UK Border Agency, declaring that Sarwar had revoked his UK citizenship in 2013.
"It is the legal and ethical responsibility of the attorney general to check his facts before recording statements in the Supreme Court," PTI spokesperson said.
"The party is seriously reviewing the hidden political motives in the attorney general's statement."
Committee formed to investigate dual nationalities
Meanwhile, the chief justice formed a six-member committee to investigate and submit a report about government officers who hold dual citizenships by March 25.
The committee headed by director general of Federal Investigation Agency will comprise Nadra chairman, DG immigration and passports, additional interior secretary, additional establishment secretary and a member of the Federal Board of Revenue.
The court also directed Nadra to prepare a software to determine if civil servants hold dual nationalities. The software will be provided to the heads and secretaries of all relevant departments for the provision of data.
The committee was formed after the establishment secretary informed the court that 127 civil servants working for 43 divisions of various ministries are dual nationals.
Sixty-four officers in Punjab, five in Sindh, 18 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight in Balochistan, 28 in Azad Kashmir and one in Gilgit-Baltistan hold dual citizenships, he informed the court.