ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) Dr Tahirul Qadri to submit in court documents pertaining to his foreign nationality.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justices Gulzar Ahmed and Sheikh Azmat Saeed, was hearing a petition for the reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).The petition, filed by Qadri, calls for the reconstitution of the commission on the basis that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and the four members were not appointed according to the provisions of the constitution.
Qadri argues that their appointments are therefore void ab intio, and pleads the court o restrain the commission from functioning pending a decision in the case.At the start of today’s proceedings, the bench inquired Qadri over his nationality, which the chief justice said was pertinent for the court to know in order to proceed further with the case.Qadri informed the court that he was both a citizen of Pakistan and a Canadian national. He informed the court that he had attained Canadian nationality in 2005 when he resigned from the National Assembly. He added that he had applied for citizenship in 1999.
“Can a Canadian citizen also be a Pakistani national?” the CJ remarked.“One thing is clear: you can not be a member of parliament, because, according to the constitution, a dual-national can not become a lawmaker,” said Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.The bench inquired if he had acquired foreign nationality due to any threats, to which he replied that he had not attained Canadian nationality on the basis of any dangers to his life.
“After acquiring citizenship, one has to take an oath of allegiance. With all due respect, you are violating this oath,” remarked the chief justice. “How can somebody who takes an oath of allegiance to another country be loyal to Pakistan?”The bench ordered Qadri to submit in court documents pertaining to his Canadian nationality, and adjourned further hearing to Tuesday.Speaking to reporters later outside the SC, Qadri said that the Pakistani constitution allows voters to hold dual nationality.
“The law prohibits only elected representatives from holding dual nationality. However, according to the law, a Pakistani voter can hold nationalities of certain countries,” he said.Earlier today, Qadri said he did not believe his petition could lead to a delay in the upcoming general elections, adding that his objective was to ensure that transparent polls be held in the country.Qadri said the ECP had to fulfill the criterion of transparency in accordance with the Constitution.Legal analysts and political commentators are attaching great importance to the case, saying serious issues raised in it may entail judicial intervention and delay the elections. – Dawn