Pakistan interior minister 'should lose seat'

Supreme Court says Rehman Malik should lose senate seat for falsifying papers in ruling that also disqualifies four MPs.

    Pakistan interior minister 'should lose seat'
    The constitution bars elected politicians from holding citizenship of any country other than Pakistan [AFP]

    Pakistan's Supreme Court has said Rehman Malik, the interior minister and a senior member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP), should lose his senate seat for making a false statement in election papers.

    Thursday’s ruling is the second time in three months that the court has ruled against Malik, seen by many as President Asif Ali Zardari's right-hand man, marking the latest round in a long-running tussle between the government and the judiciary.

    The court also on Thursday disqualified four MPs, two from the PPP, and seven provincial assembly members for holding dual nationality. The constitution bars elected politicians from holding citizenship of any country other than Pakistan.

    Malik was forced to step down from parliament in June after the Supreme Court suspended him for running for office while still a British national.

    He then won his seat back in a by-election after producing a letter from the British government acknowledging that he had renounced his British nationality.

    But the court said on Thursday that Malik was not fit to hold office because he had made a false statement in nomination papers in 2008 when he said there was nothing to bar him from office, as there was no proof he had surrendered British nationality before May 2012.

    "Mr A Rehman Malik, in view of the false declaration filed by him at the time of contesting the election to the Senate held in the year 2008 ... cannot be considered sagacious, righteous [and] honest," Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said in the ruling.

    Chaudhry referred the matter to the chairman of the senate, who will decide whether to unseat Malik, and ordered the Election Commission to begin legal proceedings against him over the false declaration.

    Some government members have accused judges of overreaching their authority and trying to bring down the coalition before 2013, when it would become the first elected administration in Pakistan's history to complete a full five-year term.

    SOURCE: AFP


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