ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday issued notices to 22 members of Punjab Assembly allegedly having dual-nationalities in a reference moved by a retired diplomat.

On October 10 last year, Asif Ezdi, a retired ambassador had moved a reference to Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Iqbal for the disqualification of 43 MPAs of Punjab Assembly who he alleged were the dual-nationals. In the light of Article 63 (2) of the Constitution, the speaker was to forward the matter to the ECP within 30 days for taking necessary action. The speaker, however, did not forward the reference to the electoral body within the prescribed time period, following which, the reference landed in the election commission. The commission incorporated it with the cases of those lawmakers who were required to submit nationality affidavits not later than November 30 last year. All the Punjab Assembly legislators filed the required declarations, as ordered by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

However, out of 43 MPAs moved against by Ezdi, as many as 21 MPAs provided necessary documents to prove that they did not have the nationality of any other country except Pakistan. They have been sent notices to produce relevant nationality documents, according to ECP sources.

Arif Ezdi would be asked to present documentary evidence in support of his allegation that the said MPAs were dual-nationals.

The Article 63 (2) of the Constitution reads, “If any question arises whether a member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) has become disqualified from being a member, the speaker or, as the case may be, the chairman shall, unless he decides that no such question has arisen, refer the question to the election commission within 30 days and should he fail to do so within the aforesaid period it shall be deemed to have been referred to the election commission.”