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Attorney General of Pakistan, Irfan Qadir. —File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir, in a letter sent to Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim on Tuesday, has expressed his legal opinion that the Election Commission should ensure it stays within constitutional limits while taking any action over the issue of dual-national lawmakers, DawnNews reported.

In the letter, the attorney general stresses upon the ECP to act within constitutional limits rather than abide by the SC’s orders. Qadir further advises in the letter to the CEC that, according to the constitution, the Election Commission acts independently and that ‘no court, not even the Supreme Court, has the right to issue instructions to the ECP’.

Qadir further advises the CEC to ‘keep in view the constitution and his oath’ before taking any action in the dual nationality case.

The attorney general’s letter comes a day after the ECP announced Interior Minister Rehman Malik, and 11 other legislators, are to face criminal proceedings for submitting false declarations along with their nomination papers for elections to conceal their dual nationalities.

The apex court had disqualified 11 members of parliament and provincial assemblies on Sept 20, but had spared Malik for the time being. However, in its Sept 20 verdict, the SC had noted that at the time of filing nomination papers for Senate elections in 2008 Malik had made a false declaration that he did not hold the nationality of a foreign country.

Addressing a press conference on Monday after a meeting of the Election Commission, its secretary Ishtiak Ahmad Khan said that under Article 63 (1) (C) of the Constitution, holders of dual nationality could not get elected or continue as members of parliament or provincial assemblies.

He said legal proceedings would be instituted against the 12 legislators, including Malik, for submitting false declarations and thus committing corrupt practices under Section 78 of the Representation of the People Act, 1976, read with sections 82 of the act, and sections 193, 196, 197, 198 and 199 of the Pakistan Penal Code. Their cases will be sent to the concerned sessions courts for trial.