The Supreme Court threw out, on Wednesday, Dr Tahirul Qadri’s petition asking for reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the ground that he was a dual national, thus not entitled to petition the court in the public interest, and that the court could not allow a foreign national to upset the applecart of the country’s political system. The SC observed that the petitioner had failed to establish his bona fides, nor the sincerity of his intentions; nor had he pointed to any of his fundamental rights that had been impinged. The court also observed at the hearing that Dr Qadri had suddenly launched a dubious agenda. To sum up, he could not convince the court of his locus standi in raising the issue of the ECP. Throwing caution to the winds, Dr Qadri engaged the court in argumentation and waved the Chief Justice’s photograph taking oath of office from President Musharraf when his own allegiance to Pakistan was questioned for having owed allegiance to the Canadian state as well. He did not hesitate a moment to point out that Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had also taken oath from a military dictator. His demeanour and observations were hinted by the court as having constituted contempt of court, though the issue was not pursued, yet his angry remarks at a press briefing on coming out of the court could provoke the court to order him to explain his conduct.

In a charged tone Dr Qadri told reporters that in the two days of the court’s hearing he was not allowed to read a single line of the petition and the whole focus was on his dual nationality rather than hearing his arguments. “I was humiliated. I’m a Pakistani.” He was a voter and believed that by dubbing him a dual national and depriving him of the right to be listened by the court, the commitment to Pakistan of the millions of expatriates who were sending billions of rupees to the country was being questioned. “It was a political verdict and unconstitutional,” he added.

Comments have also come from Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (R) Fakharuddin Ebrahim who welcomed the verdict and showed the court’s confidence in the ECP; all objections should now end. The CEC held out the assurance that the elections would be held in time. Interior Minister Rehman Malik called the court decision a historic judgement. To the amazement of many he said that the government had always honoured court decisions. Talking to media at Islamabad, he said it was “drop scene of the drama”. The question now is whether Dr Qadri would call it quits or pursue his crusade at the public platform. The dual nationals holding Pakistani passports must also be distanced from the Qadri parade; he must not be allowed to portray himself as their spokesperson, nor should they be tarred with the same brush as this mischief maker.