|Lawmakers ask about dual national judges|
10 October 2012
A visibly perturbed lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party posed the same question to judges of the Supreme Court judges which the latter has been asking from the legislators in the dual nationality case.
“Tell us how many judges of the apex court possess citizenship of other countries?” Noor Alam Khan rhetorically questioned. “We know them all.”
Speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Alam Khan took exception to the Supreme Court decision in the dual nationality case. “We have already taken the oath and parliament was merely ridiculed.”
Recently, the ECP had asked all members of parliament as well as provincial assemblies to file fresh declarations stating their nationality status after the Supreme Court disqualified some dual national lawmakers.
Despite the opposition to these directives, Khan did not deny the fact that there might be some legislators who have submitted false statements or have concealed their dual citizenship.
The issue emerged minutes before the house was adjourned when Belum Hasnain from the PPP sought assistance from the speaker over the subject.
Questions from Hasnain followed by Mumtaz Alam Gilani, both from the PPP, reflected that most legislators were still groping in the dark and did not know what to do with the request for fresh declarations sought by the ECP.
“We (parliament) have nothing to do with the issue and it is the ECP duty to contact members and get whatever it needs,” was the response of Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi.
“Should we fill up fresh declarations?” asked Hasnain.
This was followed by Gilani’s request to the speaker: “Help us get rid of this issue.”
But Kundi reiterated his earlier stance in more simple words: “It’s not the job of parliament. Let’s decide for the sovereignty of this house that we are not bound to submit fresh oaths.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers from Balochistan – Advocate Muhammad Usman and Nasir Ali Shah from the PPP – lamented the government’s “non-serious” approach to resolving the issues of the province and sought the dissolution of the provincial assembly and imposition of governor’s rule.
Advocate Usman referred to the apex court hearing of the missing persons’ case and said it had been stated by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) that the “influential”, including sitting ministers, were involved in cases of kidnapping for ransom and killing of people. “The provincial government has failed,” he stated.
“This (PPP) is not the party which was once headed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto,” Shah said, expressing bewilderment over the government’s way of handling the issue.
Having witnessed the disappointment of the members, Naveed Qamar, head of Cabinet Committee on Balochistan, revealed that he would submit the report of the committee in the next Cabinet meeting (Wednesday).
Boring, how to kill time?
The proceeding on private members’ day simply veered off the script and the 36-point agenda appeared nothing more than a wish-list since the entire agenda remained unaddressed.
On Tuesday it seemed the entire session of the lower house merely went over points of order over a variety of issues which perhaps led members to lose interest who ultimately started chatting in small groups.
Boredom was perhaps so overwhelming that a young parliamentarian from the PPP, Natasha Daultana, who was elected a few months ago, lost interest and took out her iPad.
Clearly visible from the press gallery, she sat on the back benches and played games on her device to kill time.
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