LAHOURE - Unlike the stance taken by Secretary National Assembly and the Chairman Senate that rules of business do not allow them to seek fresh oath from parliamentarians regarding their nationality, Punjab Assembly Secretary has decided to cooperate with the Election Commission of Pakistan in this regard.

“So far, around 70 legislators belonging to different political parties have submitted fresh oaths on a declaration form, declaring that they don’t hold nationality of any other country,” Maqsood Malik, Secretary Punjab Assembly told TheNation on Wednesday.

Malik said he was contacting Assembly members, one by one, requesting them to fill a new declaration issued by the Election Commission seeking latest information about their current nationality. He said majority of 70 members who have submitted new oaths belonged to the PPP and PML-N. Maqsood hoped the process would be completed soon. As per the new instructions, the Assembly members are required to submit on oath that they were not holding nationality of any other country at the time of their election and that they did not acquire the same afterwards.

Sources in Punjab Assembly told this scribe that the decision to cooperate with the Election Commission was taken by PML-N leadership and subsequently conveyed to the secretary assembly through the Speaker.

Earlier, in pursuance of the Supreme Court orders, the Election Commission of Pakistan had sent letters to the secretary National Assembly, Chairman Senate and secretaries of all provincial assemblies to seek fresh affidavits from the lawmakers about their nationality in a bid to hunt the dual nationality holders.

However, the secretaries of both the lower and the upper house returned the letters telling the commission that it was its duty and not theirs to get any declaration signed by the parliamentarians according to the rules. The secretaries of other provincial assemblies except that of Punjab Assembly are silent about the commission’s letter so far.

Following this development, the Election Commission on Tuesday asked the legislators to submit in a week’s time the declarations on oath regarding their nationality status till Oct 9.  It may be recalled here that the apex court had on September 20 convicted 12 legislators for having dual nationality and 11 of them have already been disqualified by the election commission. The fate of Interior Minister Rehman Malik is yet to be decided by the Chairman Senate.