LAHORE - The Supreme Court will hear on Saturday the matter of suspected dual nationality of four senators-elect so the eligible among them could vote in March 12 elections for the top senate slots.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday observed that they did not want to withhold notifications of ‘eligible’ senators and obstruct their ability to vote in the election for Senate chairman and deputy chairman.

“Candidates have to cast their votes... and if we cancel any voter’s notification he won’t be able to cast his vote, so, we fix Saturday for hearing of this matter,” the top judge observed.

He was heading a three-judge bench, including Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, hearing a number of suo moto notices at the Lahore registry of apex court.

The court asked three of the four newly elected senators to submit their affidavits pronouncing that they have permanently and irrevocably renounced and surrendered their foreign nationalities.

They were Chaudhary Muhammad Sarwar of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, and PML-N leaders Nuzhat Sadiq and Sadia Abbasi - sister of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

However, another PML-N leader Haroon Akhtar made a request for adjournment through his counsel Ali Zafar, submitting that he would appear on the next date of hearing.

The CJP had earlier put off hearing about the dual nationality of the parliamentarians, judges and civil servants until March 13 but rescheduled the hearing for Saturday (10) upon learning that elections for senate chairman and deputy chairman are to be held on March 12.

Previously, the court was informed that the above said four senators-elect were possessing dual nationality.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had told the court that though the senators holding dual nationality had submitted affidavits claiming that they had given up their nationality of other countries, they had not submitted any legal documents to confirm their stance.

At this, the SC had ordered the ECP to withhold their election notifications. The court had also stopped the ECP from issuing victory notification of another newly elected independent senator from Balochistan, Kuda Babar, and issued him a notice.

Submitting his reply on Thursday, Ch Sarwar said that he had relinquished his UK citizenship in 2013, before becoming Punjab governor.

The court remarked “this is [the condition of a] Pakistan representative(s). When they saw their benefit outside Pakistan, they obtained nationality of that [foreign] country. [And] when they saw that their personal interests could be better served in this country, their love for the motherland awoke suddenly”.

The bench directed Sarwar to submit his affidavit before the court.

Nuzhat said she had renounced her US citizenship in 2012 and has all necessary documents issued by the US consulate as well as the US state department.

PTI leader Andleeb Abbass told the court that Sadia Abbasi, the sister of PM Abbasi, and Nuzhat Sadiq had been members of the parliament for five years despite having dual nationality.

They relinquished dual nationality just to become senators which was tantamount to depriving many other eligible candidates of being senators.

At this, the chief justice observed: “We are here for your rights and therefore we have taken suo moto notice.”

He added that the decision in dual nationality had come in 2012. Hence, their disqualification should start from that time, if they are found flouting the law.

The counsel of Sadia Abbasi and Nuzhat Sadiq pleaded the bench for early hearing of the matter so that the stage of taking oath could be completed. After hearing the candidates and their counsels, the bench observed: “The matter requires interpretation of the UK and US law dealing with grant of citizenship and its surrender/renunciation”.

The bench appointed Bilal Minto advocate and Khalid Jawed Khan as amicus curies to assist the court on the question whether the renunciation/surrender of the foreign citizenship claimed by the persons named above was of a permanent and irrevocable nature under the laws of the relevant jurisdiction.

The court also directed the amicus curies to examine the judgment of the SC reported as Mehmood Akhtar Vs Federation of Pakistan PLD 2012 SC 1089 and Zahid Iqbal Vs Muhammad Adnan 2016 SCMR 430 in this context.

The court would resume hearing on Saturday (Tomorrow).