SC seeks list of judges, civil servants holding dual nationalities

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan has sought a list of judges, civil servants holding dual nationalities on Wednesday.

A three-judge bench, presided by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, has given 15 days to the SC and high courts registrars to submit a list of dual nationals superior and lower judiciary judges. The bench, while hearing a case related to meter readers, also asked a secretary establishment to submit names of civil servants from grade 17 to 21 with dual nationalities within 15 days.

Currently the judges are not legally barred from holding dual nationalities, however, when the top court led by former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry disqualified dozens of parliamentarians for dual nationalities, the members of parliament campaigned for a ban on judges for the same.

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In March 2017, the government informed the National Assembly that despite repeated requests the apex court and high courts of Lahore and Sindh have not provided information regarding names of superior court judges having dual nationalities.

On March 6, 2017, while answering a similar question on the floor of the house, former law minister Zahid Hamid had expressed ‘inability’ to get the required information from superior courts.

“Not only repeated reminders have been sent to the registrar offices of these superior courts but also telephone calls were made to get the requisite information. But, it has not been provided yet,” Hamid had informed the legislators. “We cannot take any coercive measure against them to get the required information.”

On February 4, 2014 the Senate unanimously passed a resolution asking the government to publish names of those judges of the superior judiciary who held dual citizenships and the then Senate chairman Nayyar Bokhari gave two months’ time for its implementation. PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar moved the said resolution as well.

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Later, seeing the situation, two PPP senators – Sughra Imam (retired in March 2015) and Raza Rabbani – moved a constitutional amendment bill – The Constitution (22nd Amendment) Act – in the Senate seeking a ban on dual nationals to be judges in superior courts through an amendment to Article 177.

On February 19, 2015, the Senate Committee on Law and Justice had approved the draft of the bill. “The bill was approved by the committee but we did not bring it up in the house because PPP did not have the two-thirds majority required to pass it. So, it crossed the committee stage but did not reach the plenary stage,” Babar had informed The Express Tribune.

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