The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday announced that the hearing of a case concerning senators-elect believed to possess dual nationality will be held on March 10 in order to ensure that eligible legislators are not prevented from voting in the upcoming election for the Senate chairman.

The election for Senate chairman will be held on March 12.

During the hearing today, the chief justice said he had not known that the elections for the Senate chairman were to be held on March 12 when he ordered the withholding of notifications.

He said he did not wish to withhold the notifications of "eligible voters" and impede their ability to vote, and therefore was fixing the hearing for March 10 in the SC's Lahore Registry so that senators-elect who can demonstrate that they are not dual nationals can be notified immediately.

Earlier this week, the chief justice, during a hearing of a suo motu case concerning civil servants holding dual nationality, had ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan to withhold the notifications of four senators-elect who allegedly possess dual nationality.

The attorney general (AG) had told the court that four senators-elect — 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 had said.

The ECP secretary had said that though the senators holding dual nationality had submitted affidavits claiming that they had given up their nationality of other countries, they 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, had remarked that if 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 AG's claim — that PTI senator-elect Sarwar possessed a dual nationality — had elicited a strong response from the party. The PTI's media cell had 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," the PTI spokesperson said. "The party is seriously reviewing the hidden political motives in the attorney general's statement."

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