ISLAMABAD - Taking a liberal view, top court’s Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Wednesday observed that a Pakistani-origin dual national in abroad to learn some skills, if excluded through the interpretation of renunciation of citizenship, then he could not return back to Pakistan to serve the country.

“It is not only the matter of constitutional provision but also the matter of nation building and national development. So we have to carefully interpret the law on renunciation of citizenship,” observed Justice Bandial

Justice Bandial further observed that if the door of Parliament for Pakistani origin dual national would be closed today then the doors of other institutions will also be closed for such persons. 

Justice Bandial, being member of the 7-judge larger bench, made these observations during the hearing of the case regarding disqualification of dual national parliamentarians when the Section 14 of Citizenship Act 1951 was cited. The Section 14 and 14-A of the Act is regarding dual citizenship or nationality not permitted renunciation of citizenship.

The larger bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has been hearing different identical petitions involving a common question of law whether the disqualification of a parliamentarian under Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution is permanent even if the lawmaker renounces his/her foreign nationality.

In the same proceedings, the bench ordered to send the renunciation documents of Governor Punajb Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar to British High Commission and Secretary of British State Office for the verification that if the governor has permanently revoked his UK nationality.  

The top court, however, declared the elections of Abdul Rauf Rind of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) as void. Regarding Sarwar, his counsel Advocate Hamid Khan contended before the top court that his client had renounced the UK citizenship.  He also submitted the certificate of secretary State Office.

The bench sent the documents to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, British High Commission and to State Office for verification. The chief justice warned that if the documents were found to be wrong then Governor Punjab Sarwar would be disqualified for holding the public office.

Regarding Rind, the counsel appearing on behalf of opponent Barkat Ali, contended before the court that the returning officer overlooked the dual nationality of Rind, who acquired Oman’s nationality.

During the hearing, another member of the bench Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked the counsel as to how the Oman’s nationality was acquired by Rind. 

The counsel representing Rind responded that his client’s father was Oman's national. He added that his client had asked the Omani authorities through the letter for renunciation of nationality.

However, Justice Ahsan observed that the renunciation of nationality will only be operative from the time of issuance of Oman's authority.

However, Rind could not establish his renunciation of Oman's nationality as he failed to produce certificate confirming the renunciation.

The chief justice asked Rind’s counsel to cite Omani law which allowed a person citizenship on the basis of Omani nationality of his father.

The counsel for Rind could not cite the law either. The chief justice observed that Rind was the holder of Omani nationality at the time of filing of nomination papers. Subsequently, the bench declared Rind’s election as void.

Barrister Ali Zafar, on behalf of Haroon Akhtar, informed the court that his client had acquired Canadian nationality but renounced before the election adding that the affidavit had been submitted.

On bench’s query, the counsel said that the certificate of renunciation was not available.

The bench adjourned the hearing of the case till Wednesday.