ISLAMABAD – Some 350 legislators including Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif have submitted with the election commissions the oath declarations on their nationality statuses, affirming being nationals of not any other state but Pakistan.

According the Election Commission of Pakistan officials, over 150 members of National Assembly (MNAs), 40 to 45 senators and 160 to 190 members of provincial assemblies (MPAs) of four provinces have filled in the prescribed forms and submitted them with the commission along with affidavits to declare that they were not dual nationality holders. Around a dozen legislators are visiting the election commissions every day to file declarations on their nationality status.

For a Pakistani legislator, having dual nationality is a violation of the Article 63 (1) (c) of the Constitution of Pakistan, that implies disqualification from assemblies. A dozen parliamentarians, including Interior Minister Rehman Malik, were convicted by the Supreme Court last month for submitting false declarations in the court to conceal their nationality status. Eleven of them have been disqualified while Malik’s case is being proceeded for his disqualification.

The SC had also instructed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to obtain fresh declarations from the elected representatives regarding their nationality statuses. 

Following the court directives, the ECP had announced launching legal action against the 12 parliamentarians by getting First Information Reports (FIRs) registered against them and sending their cases to the sessions judges concerned for initiating criminal proceedings.

On September 24 the ECP had issued letters to the secretaries of Senate, national and provincial assemblies to obtain a declaration from all the parliamentarians on the ECP-approved criteria to determine “whether each of them was citizen of Pakistan and had not obtained the citizenship of any foreign country at the time of filing nomination papers.”

On October 2, NA secretary Karamat Hussian Niazi and Senate Secretary Iftikharullah Babar informed the ECP by a letter that secretaries stood under no legal obligation and did not have any authority to obtain such declaration by a legislator.

Resultantly, the commission extended the last date for filing the oath declaration from October 9 to an indefinite time so that legislators could submit their declarations before the deadline.