Monday, October 22, 2012

Dual nationality case: Legal hitch may delay Malik's disqualification ...

Senate chairm?an did not receiv?e refere?nce from apex court even after the lapse of one month.

Senate chairman did not receive reference from apex court even after the lapse of one month. PHOTO: FILE


A legal hitch may delay disqualification of Interior Minister Rehman Malik for making a false declaration about his dual nationality in 2008, as the Senate chairman did not receive reference from the apex court even after the lapse of one month, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The court had decided the dual-nationality case on September 20 and it was perceived that Malik would be disqualified after a 30-day period, the deadline given to the Senate for sending a reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against him.

The Senate chairman will have to determine within one month after the receipt of a reference from the apex court whether a disqualification has taken place or not ? this was clearly mentioned in the ruling, but that didn?t happen.

?? a reference will be required to be made to the chairman Senate under Article 63 (2) in view of the provision of Section 99 (1) (f) of the Act of 1976, which lays down that a person shall not be disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of an assembly unless he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and amen,? the court order stated.

The court observed that at the time of filing of nomination papers for Senate election in 2008, Malik made a false declaration that he was not a dual national and was thus not disqualified on that account.

In view of the false declaration, he cannot be considered sagacious, righteous, honest and ?amen? within the contemplation of Section 99(1)(f) of the Representation of People?s Act (RPA).

?The legal hitch might delay the process,? an ECP official told The Express Tribune without giving any timeframe for the completion of the process.

He referred to an ECP meeting scheduled for Monday with Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakharuddin G Ebrahim and said the matter of Malik?s disqualification was not on the agenda.

Responding to a question, he said when there is a question about disqualification of a member that the speaker (of National or Provincial Assembly) or the Senate Chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the ECP within 30 days and if he fails to do so within the stipulated period, it shall be deemed to have been referred to the ECP.

The ECP shall decide the question within 90 days from its receipt or deemed to have been received, and if it is of the opinion that the member has become disqualified, he shall cease to be so and his seat shall become vacant.

The ECP can act against Malik only after a disqualification reference is sent to it by the Senate chairman or getting clear directions from the SC as it was done in the case of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani when the court had issued clear directions to de-notify him.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2012.


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