ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday disqualified PML-Q MNA Begum Shehnaz Sheikh over dual nationality and discharged notice against Raja Riaz Ahmed, who disowned statement about Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s being a dual national.

The court disqualified Begum Shehnaz under article 63(1)(C) for holding Australian nationality, and directed the National Assembly secretary to recover the monetary benefits she enjoyed as an MNA. The election commission had been ordered to proceed against her in accordance with the law.

The court restored the membership of Waseem Qadir, MPA from PP-144 (Lahore-VIII), as he informed the bench that he holds permanent residency of Norway and was not a citizenship of that county. The court on September 20 disqualified him along with 11 others parliamentarians for holding dual nationality. But after provision of evidence of his claim, the court recalled its order.

Munir Paracha, counsel for MNA Ghulam Mujtaba Rai, who also appeared on behalf of Begum Shehnaz Sheikh and Raja Riaz Ahmed, said that Mr Rai renounced his Canadian nationality in May 2007, before contesting the elections in 2008. He provided proof of his claim. The court, however, instead of passing any order in this regard issued notice to journalist Umer Cheema. The court on a news story of Umer, who is a reporter of an English daily, had issued notices to Begum Shehnaz Sheikh and Ghulam Mujtaba Rai.

Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz Ahmed, appearing before the three-judge bench, along with his lawyer, categorically denied the news item that appeared in various newspapers. He, however, said his statement is based on some whispering going on in the media but he has no information whether CM Shahbaz Sharif was dual national.

On the intervention of the counsels and PML-N MNA Naseer Bhutta, the counsel of the Punjab CM agreed that the proceeding be dropped against Raja Riaz for issuing the statement. Shahbaz yesterday (Tuesday) filed a reply in the court regarding claims about his dual citizenship. He not only denied the allegations levelled by his rival as “malicious, false, frivolous, untrue and baseless”, but demanded exemplary costs to Raja Riaz over his lying.

Munir Paracha admitted before the bench that Shehnaz Sheikh is dual nationality of Australia. He informed the court that Begum Shehnaz has resigned voluntarily therefore the judgment related to refund of money benefits and other action by Election Commission of Pakistan under Peoples Representation Act 1976 was not applicable.

The bench on October 3, 2012 had suspended her membership on the story of Umer Cheema. The chief justice in its order said that there is no exception call far. “She will be treated at par with other parliamentarians, who were disqualified for holding dual nationality.” The ECP and secretary National Assembly have been directed to proceed against her in accordance with law.

Rehman Malik was asked to submit the list of parliamentarians, that he alleged still hold dual nationality.

 On the last hearing, Malik was ordered to submit the information, if any, regarding his claim in a sealed envelope at the Registrar Office within seven days.

The Interior minister in a press conference press/talk on September 20, 21 had said: “If he is asked by the Supreme Court or the government, he could supply the names of the parliamentarians and members of provincial assemblies, who enjoy dual citizenship.” The case was adjourned for two weeks.