Home News Analysis Embattled Murad Ali Shah escapes disqualification as SC dismisses petition

Embattled Murad Ali Shah escapes disqualification as SC dismisses petition

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News Analysis |

Supreme Court of Pakistan has dismissed a petition seeking the disqualification of Chief Minister Sindh Mr. Syed Murad Ali Shah. The petition sought the disqualification of Murad on the basis of dual nationality and work permit. The hearing was conducted by a three-member judicial bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial.

It is worth noting that Mr. Shah is already facing criticism after the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the apex court has disclosed his role in a money laundering case. His name was added in the Exit Control List (ECL) on the recommendations of the JIT but later on, the SC directed the government to remove his name. PTI also demanded his resignation for being involved in money laundering.

The ECP had declared in 2013 while hearing a petition challenging the qualification of Dr. Tahirul Qadri to head his party that holders of dual nationality could not hold any office in a political party.

It is also important to note that Mr. Murad’s disqualification petition was dismissed by the returning officer, the court said and added that the petitioner did not challenge the returning officer’s decision on a legal forum. Interestingly, the petitioner was a political rival of CM Sindh, the judges observed.

They further said being a political rival does not confirm one’s intentions, adding that the high court rightfully rejected the petition previously. “Despite there being a legal forum in place, why was the petition lodged in the high court,” questioned Justice Muneeb Akhtar, adding that the petitioner can’t request to remove someone from the post all of a sudden.

Read more: Can dual nationals hold public offices in Pakistan?

The bench reminded the legal counsel to approach the legal forums in order to seek disqualification of any member of the assembly since it was beyond the SC’s justification.

Dual nationals: Verdict of the Supreme Court and Declaration of ECP

The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled back in 2012 that lawmakers holding dual nationalities were not eligible to hold any public offices and declared all such lawmakers as disqualified. The top court had mentioned that the lawmakers were being disqualified under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

A three-judge bench led by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry disqualified legislators. Four legislators were from the National Assembly, five from the Punjab Assembly and two from the Sindh Assembly.

In Pakistan, holding dual nationality is a matter of concern particularly for those who hold public offices. Politicians who have dual nationalities are too often subjected to political victimization here in Pakistan. 

The ECP had declared in 2013 while hearing a petition challenging the qualification of Dr. Tahirul Qadri to head his party that holders of dual nationality could not hold any office in a political party.

Under Section 5(1) of the Political Parties Order of 2002: “Every citizen, not being in the service of Pakistan, shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party or be otherwise associated with a political party or take part in political activities or be elected as an office-bearer of a political party, provided that a person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the majlis-i-shoora (parliament) under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or under any other law for the time being in force.”

But recently the apex court allowed Mr. Zulfi Bukhari to work as Special Assistant to Prime Minister on overseas Pakistanis. Mr. Zulfi’s appointment was challenged in the SC.

Read more: “Withhold notifications of senators-elect believed to be dual nationals,” Chief Justice…

Politicians and bureaucrats have different opinions regarding dual citizenship. Some politicians believe that holding dual nationality is not a crime while many other think it questions one’s loyalty with the motherland. In Pakistan, holding dual nationality is a matter of concern particularly for those who hold public offices. Politicians who have dual nationalities are too often subjected to political victimization here in Pakistan.


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