ISLAMABAD: The federation on Wednesday submitted a reply in response to the Supreme Court's notice seeking explanation and assistance over a statement allegedly made by Interior Minister Rehman Malik on the issue of dual national lawmakers, DawnNews reported.
On Sept 22, the apex court had sought explanation from Malik over his claims that there were several members of the parliament and provincial assemblies who held dual nationalities.
The reply, submitted by the Advocate-on-Record, took the stance that the minister's statement was relayed out of context and that the minister had not issued any such statement.
It further said that the interior ministry had already issued a denial with respect to the statement.
More dual national lawmakers?
Taking notice of reports that quoted Malik and journalist Umar Cheema on the dual national lawmakers’ case, the court had directed for writing letters to Malik and Cheema to furnish details of members of the parliament and provincial assemblies holding dual nationality.
After the publication of a news story by Cheema published in daily The News dated 21.09.2012 and a statement of Malik published in the same newspaper dated 22.09.2012, the chief justice had directed the Supreme Court’s office to send letters to both Cheema and Malik to furnish details to substantiate the stand taken by them.
The court had also directed the office to send a letter to Begum Shehnaz Sheikh, former Minister of State for Health and PML-Q MNA, through Secretary National Assembly to confirm the information given in the newspaper alleging she has been an Australian-Pakistani for at least 16 years.
Verdict against dual national lawmakers
On Sept 20, the Supreme Court had disqualified 11 members of parliament and provincial assemblies, but had spared Malik for the time being. The only sentence Malik received for submitting a false declaration was a court observation that he could not be considered sagacious, righteous, honest and ameen.
However, like other lawmakers, the minister will be facing legal proceedings by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which may entail a punishment of up to seven years and also require him to reimburse all monetary benefits drawn by him up to July 11, 2012, for the period he occupied the public office.