The Supreme Court on Thursday directed Interior Minister Rehman Malik to submit within three weeks a list of all lawmakers who still hold dual nationality.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, was hearing the case against members of parliament and provincial assemblies holding dual nationality.
The court had ordered the interior minister to submit by Thursday a list of legislators who still held dual nationality following its short order in the case on Sept 20.
Appearing before the bench today, Malik said he was doing so because he respected the court. He said if the court wanted him to name dual national members of parliament and Senate, it should wait until all lawmakers submitted fresh declarations.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had issued its orders to lawmakers to submit their declarations to the commission within 30 days, making it clear that they would be assumed to be possessing dual nationality if they failed to comply with the order within the stipulated period.
Referring to the Oct 9 directions by the ECP, Malik said that by the time lawmakers submit their declarations, it would be clear which of them possessed dual nationalities. Malik added that a bad precedent would be set, in his position as a minister, if he took somebody’s name.
Earlier this week, the court had released its detailed order, stating: “…We may also add that Interior Minister Mr. A. Rehman Malik was reported to have made a statement that even after our short Order dated 20.9.2012, there still remain in the houses of Parliament, persons who are dual nationals. Notice was issued to Mr. A. Rehman Malik after examination of the transcript of his statement. He appeared in Court and stated that he will task “his boys” in the Ministry of Interior who can then submit in Court a list of persons in Parliament/Provincial Assemblies holding dual citizenship.”
While Malik refused to name dual national legislators in court today, Justice Khawaja said the media had named several lawmakers who were said to be holding dual nationality, including Nadir Magsi, Dr Asim Hussain, Senator Babar Ghauri, Dr Ishratul Ibad, Rauf Siddiqui, Sassui Palejo and Waseem Akhtar. Justice Khawaja ordered Malik to investigate the matter.
Accepting the interior minister’s request to be exempted from appearing before the court in the next hearing, the court directed him to submit through the Interior Secretary a list of names within three weeks of dual national lawmakers.
The hearing was subsequently adjourned sine die.