IHC once again reserves verdict on petition seeking three MNAs’ disqualification

Updated December 07, 2019

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday once again reserved its order on a petition seeking disqualification of three PTI woman members of the National Assembly. — AFP/File
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday once again reserved its order on a petition seeking disqualification of three PTI woman members of the National Assembly. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday once again reserved its order on a petition seeking disqualification of three PTI woman members of the National Assembly.

Earlier on July 31, IHC bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq reserved the verdict on the petition.

However, the judge later on observed that since some legal issues required to be addressed, therefore, he decided to re-hear the matter.

The court, however, on Oct 18 deferred the pronouncement of the verdict as the judge was of the view that some legal questions related to filing of nomination papers and its scrutiny were required to be re-examined.

Subsequently, the court issued notices to the respondents again and after hearing their arguments reserved the verdict on Friday.

Petitioners had challenged eligibility of Maleeka Bokhari, Tashfeen Safdar and Kanwal Shauzab

The petitioners had challenged the eligibility of MNAs Maleeka Bokhari, Tashfeen Safdar and Kanwal Shauzab, alleging that they were dual nationals.

In March 2018, Ms Shauzab had contested the Senate election on a general seat from the federal capital but she did not win the election.

The petition said that Ms Shauzab’s permanent and present addresses were in Rawalpindi and Sargodha, but she gave Islamabad as her permanent address hence she had misled the ECP about her residence and registration of vote and was, therefore, ineligible to contest the elections for the National Assembly.

The petitioners’ counsel argued before the court that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had identified Ms Bokhari as a UK passport holder.

Through an affidavit, in support of her nomination papers dated June 19, she said she had renounced her British nationality and surrendered her passport.

She claimed that the UK Home Office had also acknowledged the renunciation of her British nationality.

The petition said Ms Bokhari had referred to an email correspondence she made to the first secretary justice and home affairs at the British High Commission in Islamabad and Dave Walsh at the UK Home Office “in support of the duly signed and stamped declaration of renunciation”.

The petition said the emails had date of June 11, 2018, and Ms Bokhari had submitted her nomination papers a day earlier.

Therefore, it contended, based on the deadline set by the ECP for nomination papers’ submission, she was still a dual national.

Regarding Ms Safdar, the petition said that she had submitted her nomination papers on June 8, while an FIA report submitted to the ECP identified her as a British passport holder.

In her affidavit, Ms Safdar said that she had “not ceased to be a citizen of Pakistan nor had acquired or applied for the citizenship of a foreign state”.

The petition said she held a foreign passport/nationality when she surrendered it vide a declaration of renunciation dated March 25, 2013, which was registered and effectuated/operative by the Home Office, UK, on April 4, 2013.

It maintained that Ms Safdar had failed to disclose her renunciation in the affidavit dated June 8 and that “failure to do so [is] tantamount to mala fide, perjury and fabricating false evidence”.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2019