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March 9, 2018



Dual nationality: Law to be applied from 2012, says SC

LAHORE: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday, seeking affidavit from the senators-elect with regard to renunciation of dual nationality, ruled that the dual nationality law would be applicable from 2012.

The SC adjourning the dual nationality suo motu case till March 10, directed four senators-elect, including Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Sadia Abbasi, Nuzhat Sadiq and Haroon Akhtar, to submit an affidavit that they had surrendered their foreign nationalities.

The three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsen, heard the suo motu notice regarding the dual nationality of judges and civil servants at the Supreme Court Lahore Registry.

The SC also directed the senators-elect to submit duly certified copies of the documents supporting their claims of relinquishing nationalities. The court also appointed Advocate Bilal Minto and Advocate Khalid Jawad Khan as amicus curiae to assist it on the question whether the renunciation of foreign nationality by the senators-elect was permanent and irrevocable in nature.

As the proceedings began, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Nuzhat Sadiq and Sadia Abbasi appeared before the bench whereas a request for an adjournment was made on the behalf of Haroon Akhtar due to his counsel's engagement in Islamabad.

The three senators-elect submitted copies of the documents to establish that they had relinquished their citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States before contesting the Senate polls.

Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar submitted that he relinquished his UK nationality before becoming the Punjab governor in 2013, whereas Nuzhat Sadiq claimed that she relinquished her US citizenship in February 2012 and had all documents issued by the US Consulate and State Department in that regard.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Andaleeb Abbas, however, submitted that she contested the Senate elections held on March 3 and also challenged the nomination papers of Nuzhat Sadiq and Sadia Abbasi for possessing dual nationality.

The court observed that interpretation of the citizenship laws of the UK and the US was required and appointed advocates Bilal Minto and Khalid Jawad Khan as amicus curiae for assistance in that regard.

It may be mentioned that the SC had restrained, on the previous hearing, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from notifying the said four senators-elect facing the dual nationality charge.