ISLAMABAD  - Supreme Court Tuesday directed Election Commission of Pakistan to withhold the notification of four senators-elect believed to be having dual nationality and directed them to appear before the court on March 8 and clear their position.

The court further directed the Attorney General of Pakistan to provide details about these senators-elect to the court.

Three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing the case regarding dual national judges and government officials, and during the hearing Chief Justice remarked that it had transpired that some six persons having dual nationality have been elected to the Upper House of the Parliament.

The chief justice further remarked that they were not aware of the names of the senators-elect who were holding dual nationality and what action under law could be taken against those who had not disclosed the details about their dual nationality.

Attorney General submitted before the court that four senators-elect – Ch Sarwar, Haroon Akhtar, Ms Sadia Abbasi and Ms Nuzhat Sadiq – were dual nationals.

Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that under the law of the land the person having dual nationality could not become senator and directed the Election Commission secretary to withhold the notification of these senators-elect till clarification in this regard.

ECP secretary informed the court that six persons who contested Senate election were holding dual nationality but two of them – Zubair Gul and Dawar Barki – could not be elected.

He also told the court that Ms Nuzhat Sadiq had given the affidavit that she had rescinded her nationality.

He further submitted before the court that Ms Sadiq Abbasi was holding the US nationality which she had surrounded on Feb 7, 2018 as per the affidavit she had submitted to the Election Commission.

To a court query, ECP secretary informed that Haroon Akhtar had given the affidavit that he was not holding dual nationality whereas as per the interior ministry record he was holding Canadian nationality, while both Ms Sadia Abbasi and Ms Nuzhat Sadiq were having US nationality.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Senator-elect from Punjab, Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar was having British nationality, he added.

To another query, the secretary informed that all these senators-elect had not given any documentary evidence of rescinding their dual nationality before the Senate elections and all what they had provided to the commission was their affidavits confirming that they were not dual nationals.

The court directed the Commission to withhold the notification of all the four senators-elect till further order and directed them all to appear before the court to explain their position.

Dual national officers

When the court resumed the hearing in the case after the break, Attorney General informed the court that as per the report of Grade 17 to Grade 22 officers some 64 officers from Punjab were having dual nationality, from Sindh some five officers, from Balochistan and Azad Kashmir some 28 each and from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa some 18 officers were having dual nationality.

Establishment Division secretary informed the court that in 22 ministries and divisions some 30 officers of federal government were having dual nationality.

The court during the hearing remarked that though it is yet to be ascertained whether holding of dual nationality for an official is crime but it definitely involved clash of interests.