ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved judgment regarding the parliamentarians whose memberships have been suspended for holding dual citizenship.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading a three-member bench, said they had prolonged the hearing so that the Parliament could amend the Constitution on the subject. He said the federal cabinet had approved proposed dual national legislation but the Parliament did not pass it yet.

Attorney General (AG) Irfan Qadir presented his arguments over the court’s observation that the parliamentarians with dual nationality should not sit in the Senate, National and provincial assemblies and also the standing committees of the houses as important issues and policies regarding the national security are discussed.

He said if this was the case, then the top functionaries - President of Pakistan, governors, chiefs of armed services, chief election commissioner, Chief Justice of Pakistan and CJs of high courts, judges of superior courts, ombudsman and auditor general - who made important policy decisions, should also not hold dual nationalities.

However, the chief justice remarked their cases were not before the court.

The attorney general, who was directed to assist the court in the case, said every year, the millions of overseas Pakistanis sent billions of dollars.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that eight million Pakistanis living abroad had sent $13 billion last year. He clarified that the court was not against those Pakistanis who held dual citizenship.

The attorney general asked the bench if the court came to the conclusion that parliamentarians, holding dual nationality, should be disqualified then their cases be sent to the speakers of their respected assemblies.

Justice Khilji said the cases of those were sent to the speaker, who had been disqualified as a result of conviction or unsound mind, but the cases pertaining to post-election disqualification were not referred to the speakers.

The attorney general argued that none of the parliamentarians, whose membership was suspended, had acquired citizenship of foreign states after becoming members of the national and provincial assemblies or Senate.

He said the Article 62 of the Constitution pertained to the pre-election qualification, while Article 63 (c) dealt with the post-election disqualification.

The chief justice questioned how a presiding officer scrutinising the nomination paper would satisfy himself that a person was not qualified to become a lawmaker, unless the objections were raised by someone. He further asked if at a later stage, it transpired that a parliamentarian had not made correct statement then what would happen.

The attorney general contended that the suspended parliamentarians were already dual nationals; therefore, there was no element of criminality or misstatement by them.

Justice Khilji said in 2002, the court had passed judgment that the parliamentarians should not hold dual nationality.

The court on the conclusion of attorney general’s arguments reserved the judgment.