ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered to place before the federal cabinet — the no-objection certificate (NOC) regarding the appointment of former army chief Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif as head of the 41-nation military alliance led by Saudi Arabia — for a regular approval or disapproval.

When a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took up the suo motu case regarding the dual nationality of civil servants and judges, it was informed by the attorney general that Gen Sharif did not obtain the NOC from the federal cabinet before leaving for Saudi Arabia.

The matter came under the spotlight at the last hearing of instant case when the Supreme Court had wondered how former army chiefs and top spymasters could assume foreign jobs without completing the mandatory gap of two years after their retirement.

The court had also directed the defence secretary to furnish the NOCs issued by the government to Sharif and former ISI chief Gen (retd) Shuja Pasha for assuming foreign jobs.

Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan on Tuesday informed the court that according to the law, the NOC was issued by the federal government to government officers willing to join service in foreign countries.

“As per the government service rules, it is required for the NOC to be approved by the federal cabinet”, he said.

Earlier, Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (retd) Zamirul Hassan submitted before the court that the defence ministry gave the NOC to Sharif after a clearance from the General Headquarters (GHQ) Rawalpindi to accept the post of commander of Islamic Military Counter-terrorism Coalition in Saudi Arabia.

“Former ISI Director General Ahmad Shuja Pasha in his written reply has said that he is currently unemployed,” the defence secretary told the court.

Meanwhile, the same bench ruled that nobody with dual nationality could serve in the army. Upon which, the secretary defence responded that the military itself was considering the matter of dual nationality on the directives of the Supreme Court.

He informed the court that the process was underway to receive an undertaking from all members of the armed forces that they were not dual nationals.

The chief justice remarked that the dual nationality holders should be treated as foreign nationals. He also maintained that if there was a bar of dual nationality for politicians to join the Parliament, then the same should be applied to other institutions.

“Government officers take postings outside the country, get the citizenship of the respective countries and then returned to the homeland and complete their jobs,” Justice Nisar said, adding: “After the retirement, they get pensions from Pakistan but live abroad.”

He further said that such officers make assets outside the country and their children also study abroad but their fee is managed from Pakistan. 

The hearing was adjourned till after the summer vacations as both the attorney general and defence secretary sought time to refer the matter of NOC to the federal cabinet.

CJP’s remarks regarding ECP:The chief justice while hearing a case regarding the rejection of nomination papers of Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf’s woman candidate Amana Raja on a reserved seat wondered how the affairs of the poll body were being run.

“Your system did not work properly on the election day,” the chief justice told a representative of ECP, who had appeared in the instant case. “The process was going well, then you intervened and your kindness upon it created a mess,” Justice Nisar said. He further said that he had called thrice to the Chief Election Commissioner but he did not respond. “I think he was sleeping,” Justice Nisar remarked.