ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the documents submitted by Interior Minister Rehman Malik pertaining to renouncing his British citizenship and directed him to submit valid documents proving that he did not hold the British nationality anymore.
A three member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhamamd Chaudhry, was hearing the dual nationality case, and observed that the documents presented by Malik’s counsel did not have the declaration of the interior minister renouncing his British citizenship.
Syed Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi, a social worker, had filed a constitutional petition, challenging the holding of dual nationality by some parliamentarians, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik and MNA Farahnaz Ispahani, the spouse of Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani.
During the hearing, Azhar Chaudhry, the counsel for the interior minister, presented before the court a form filled by Rehman Malik, renouncing his British citizenship, as well as other documents. The court, however, rejected the documents, saying it had asked the interior minister to present an attested certificate issued by the British government to prove he had forfeited his citizenship.
The court also noted that the form submitted by Rehman Malik renouncing his British citizenship was filled on April 25, 2008, whereas at the last hearing of the case, Rehman Malik had submitted that he had renounced his British nationality on March 25, 2008, before holding the public office. The court had then sought a certificate from Rehman Malik proving that he did not hold the British nationality anymore.
The counsel for Rehman Malik then told the court that the interior minister was on his way back to the country, adding that the moment he arrived, relevant documents would be submitted before the court.
The chief justice told the counsel for Rehman Malik to go through the court’s previous order of May 10. He further said that no discrimination would be done and the court had already suspended the National Assembly membership of Farahnaz Ispahani. “There are constitutional curbs on parliamentarians holding dual nationality,” the CJ remarked.
The counsel also produced before the court an unverified cheque on which Rehman Malik had transferred 229 sterling pounds from the bank account of his spouse, renouncing his British citizenship. The cheque, however, listed the name of his spouse as Saeeda Iqbal instead of Saeeda Begum.
The court directed the counsel to provide necessary documents pertaining to the renouncement of his client’s British citizenship by June 4.The court also sought a notification of the Senate seat on which Rehman Malik was elected to the Upper House of Parliament in order to ascertain his real name.
During the hearing, the court also directed counsel for MNA Zahid Iqbal to submit a reply whether his client had surrendered other passports.Attorney General Irfan Qadir told the court that people residing abroad were sending the country billions of rupees in remittances. The chief justice, however, observed that they had great respect for the overseas Pakistanis but there was a constitutional bar on parliamentarians holding dual nationalities.
During the hearing, the chief justice asked the attorney general whether he had intimated to the secretaries National Assembly, Senate and provincial assemblies and sought their assistance on the issue of parliamentarians holding dual nationality. The AG replied that he had intimated the Law Ministry. The CJ reminded him that the court had asked him to directly contact the authorities concerned.Waseem Sajjad, the counsel for Farahnaz Ispahani, sought an adjournment in the case. The court adjourned the hearing till June 4.