ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to 20 parliamentarians, who had resigned from the national/provincial assemblies and senate for holding dual nationality, to explain why they should not be declared ineligible under Article 63(1)(c) for forthcoming elections.

Heading a three-judge bench hearing dual nationality case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) why it had not initiated proceedings against these parliamentarians as they gave false declaration and concealed the fact of holding dual nationality in their nomination papers for elections.

ECP representative Abdul Rehman told the bench that they have sent the list of these MPs to Returning Officers so they could inquire from these persons for the violation of Article 63(1)(c). The court directed the Election Commission to furnish complete addresses of these MPs to SC Registrar Office and issued them notice. The case was adjourned until April 1.

Earlier, during the hearing, the court also noted that these parliamentarians had been enjoying perks and privileges even after their resignations. The chief justice remarked that the court had earlier ordered return of the benefits and salaries in Shehnaz Sheikh dual nationality case. He inquired if a dual national could not become an assembly member, how he or she could be made an adviser.

The 20 lawmakers who had resigned over the issue included PPP Senator Dr Asim Hussain; PPP MNAs Arif Aziz Sheikh and Javed Iqbal Warriach; PML-N MNAs M Jamil Malik, Dr Araish Kumar and Sabeen Rizvi; MQM MNAs Haider Rizvi, Syed Tayyab Hussain, Dr Nadeem Ehsan and Ms Fozia Ejaz Khan; and PML-Q MNA Donya Aziz. The resigning MPAs in Punjab were: Head of unification block Dr Tahir Ali Javed, PML-N’s Ch Jamil Ashraf Baryar. The Sindh PMAs were: MQM’s Raza Haroon, Abdul Moeed and late M Ali Shah; PPP’s Murad Ali Shah and Sadiq Ali Memon; and Askari Taqvi and Fozia Afzal.