The Supreme Court on Thursday directed three newly-elected Senators to submit their affidavits that they permanently and irrevocably renounced and surrendered their foreign nationality. The Senators including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's sister Sadia Abbasi, Nuzhat Sadiq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf appeared before a bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar.
The bench was hearing a suo motu case against dual nationality of judges, officials of the court and government and members of the Parliament. The bench had already restrained the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) from issuing notification of four newly-elected Senators.
The fourth Senator is Haroon Akhtar Khan of the PML-N who did not appear before bench on Thursday and a request for adjournment was made on behalf of his counsel Barrister Syed Ali Zafar. The bench also stopped the ECP from issuing victory notification of another newly-elected independent Senator from Balochistan, Kuda Babar, and issued a notice to him.
The three Senators, who appeared before the bench, also submitted documents in support of their claim that they had already renounced their foreign citizenships before the Senate polls. Sarwar stated that he relinquished his UK nationality on July 12, 2013, before becoming governor of Punjab while Sadiq said she renounced her US citizenship in 2012.
The CJP was surprised to learn that Sadia Abbasi surrendered her US nationality days before the seeking nomination papers for the Senate's election. "They are the representatives of Pakistan who first avail dual nationality for foreign benefits and surrender the same to take benefit from their own country," the CJP lamented.
The bench also expressed concern when PTI's leader Andleeb Abbas, who had challenged the candidatures of both women Senators before the ECP, stated that Sadia Abbasi has also been holding the office of MNA (reserved seat) till 2008. All the three senators failed to satisfy the bench on a query whether the renunciation of their foreign citizenships was permanent in nature or reversible.
The bench appointed two senior lawyers Bilal Minto and Khalid Javed Khan as amicus curiae to assist the court on the question whether the renunciation of the foreign nationality claimed by the senators was permanent under the law of the UK and US. The bench announced to resume hearing on March 10 at the Lahore registry as to decide the issue before election for the new chairman and deputy chairman of the senate.