ISLAMABAD – Hearing the case of dual nationality of the parliamentarians, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday remarked that it will have to be seen on what grounds Rehman Malik held the position of a minister during 2008 when he was a dual national.

“Rehman Malik was a British national in 2008, therefore, the legal status of steps taken by him as a minister will have to be ascertained,” the chief justice said pointing to Rehman Malik’s counsel while heading a three-judge bench, which also included Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain.

The chief justice said this court while disqualifying former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had declared all his steps, which he took after his conviction in contempt of court against him, as illegal, thought President Zardari later issued Ordinance to validate Gilani’s actions.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja inquired from Anwar Mansoor, counsel for Rehman Malik, to state exactly on what date his client ceased to be a British citizen. The counsel replied that he can’t tell that exactly but explained that Malik had applied for renouncing British citizenship in 2008. He said that the Election Commission never sought any document or statement in this regard, and it was also not in the oath that he could not hold dual nationality.

But when the apex court had taken up the matter of dual nationality, he approached UK Border Agency and inquired about the renunciation of Malik’s British nationality and they confirmed that he had been registered for renunciation of citizenship. “Rehman Malik may be negligent, but to say that he acted fraudulently is not right,” he said. Mansoor said whether the application for renunciation was approved in 2008 or later is a different issue.

The chief justice questioned why Rehman Malik resigned if he was duly elected senator. Mansoor replied that he did so due to the media campaign against him, adding that “Malik wanted to come clean”. He cited the example of Jamshaid Dasti, who also resigned when the apex court was hearing his disqualification case in fake degree.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that Jamshaid Dasti’s matter was neither sub-judice nor the court had disqualified him, but the MNA himself resigned. The court expressing concern over the attorney general’s absence said that the AG has been issued notice in this case but if he is not coming then invitation would not be issued to him.

Meanwhile, Sindh police on Monday came from Karachi to arrest the petitioner Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi in some other case, but the court barred them from doing so. The chief justice directed the counsels for other parliamentarians, holding dual nationality, to argue their clients’ case tomorrow (Tuesday).

SC questions ministerial actions of dual national Malik