ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday decided not to proceed against Interior Minister Rehman Malik for de-notifying his parliamentary leadership, following a Senate decision.

The decision was taken in a meeting, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, following a reference sent by Senate Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch. The reference stated that “a question of Malik’s disqualification does not arise under Article 63(2) of the Constitution”.

Sabir Baloch observed that the reference for the disqualification of Malik, who had been convicted of dual-nationality during his previous term in the Upper House, was not relevant to the Senate, as its secretariat did not receive any reference from the Supreme Court.

Since a reference is yet to be moved against Malik, the ECP decided not to launch any proceedings until its receipt.

The ECP can de-notify the memberships of parliamentarians in certain circumstances in the light of Article 63(2) that states, “If any question arises whether a member of the 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.”

Also on Tuesday, Malik filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its September 20 judgement, in which the Election Commission had been directed to initiate legal proceedings against him for submitting a false declaration at the time of filing his nomination papers.

The minister moved the petition under Article 188 of the Constitution, through his counsel, Anwar Mansoor Khan.

On September 20, the Supreme Court, in the dual nationality case, declared 11 parliamentarians disqualified for acquiring citizenship of foreign states, and directed the Election Commission to de-notify the respective memberships of Parliament/assemblies of these legislators.

The court ruled that Interior Minister, A Rehman Malik, in view of the false declaration filed by him at the time of contesting the election to the Senate in 2008, wherein he was elected, could not be considered ‘sagacious, righteous, honest and ameen’. It also directed Malik to refund all monetary benefits drawn by him till July 11, 2012 for the period he occupied the public office, in the same manner as directed in the case of other parliamentarians.

Malik argued that to hold and to declare a person as such, could only have been done after due notice and opportunity of being heard, under Article 10(A) of the Constitution and Qanoon-e-Shahadat.

The minister stated that dual citizenship was permitted by the Citizenship Act 1951, adding that the court had committed a “gross error” in the law in declaring him disqualified on the grounds of mere acquisition of nationality of a foreign state and that too at a stage much prior in point of time to the filing of his nomination papers.

“As this finding negates the letter and spirit of the Clause C, the appropriate course for this court would be to set at naught the order sought to be reviewed.”

Referring to the court’s direction of initiating criminal proceedings against him, Malik submitted that there was genuine doubt regarding interpretation of the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951 and Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution as the former allowed dual citizenship, whereas the latter did not. This controversy, he said, was only resolved after the judgement of the court on September 20, 2012 and prior to this date.

He submitted he did not willfully lie and being a layman could not interpret the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951 and read with Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution as a lawyer would be able to do so.

The minister contended that he attended to all his work in the Senate with commitment and sincerity, and put in long hours on the various issues in Committees and Sessions of the Senate.

In these circumstances, deprivation of salaries and allowances would amount to forced labour which is not permitted under the Constitution. He prayed to the apex court to review its judgment of September 20, 2012.