DR Tahirul Qadri’s petition was turned down by the Supreme Court. Whatever the reasons given in the court’s decision, the louder message was delivered home and abroad that the Pakistani dual nationals’ loyalties are suspect because they took the oath on other’s loyalty.
In other words, they are disloyal. This message caused utter disgrace to all Pakistanis living abroad with dual nationality. The oath alone cannot determine loyalty. The Supreme Court and any other court of this world cannot pass verdict on emotions and feelings like love, hate, like, dislike, loyalty and disloyalty.
If we accept the verdict on loyalty issue, the government then should change the name of the ministry of overseas Pakistanis. It should now rename it ministry of overseas disloyal Pakistanis.
One more thing, we must not forget that overseas Pakistanis are born citizens of Pakistan like us who do not take the oath of loyalty to Pakistan but they remain loyal.
How many Pakistani politicians having only Pakistani nationalities are loyal to Pakistan? Who knows?
I humbly request the Supreme Court to identify who are loyal to Pakistan: those who sent money to Pakistan and enriched foreign exchange, or those who exploited Pakistan’s exchequer and sent money to foreign banks.
Irrespective of Dr Qadri’s personality, we should focus on what he is saying. Facts about the Election Commission’s formation are public and the media also reported that constitutional process was not adopted in the appointment of some members.
I think this is the constitutional responsibility of the Supreme Court to look into the matter so that the institution which is responsible for holding free and fair elections should get out of this ambiguity.
Failing to do that may lead to another crisis that may happen after the election results. In the present state of judicial activism, personal conservations of judges with petitioners and the attorney-general overshadow the court decisions and unleash a new debate in the media.
Although the role of the judiciary is no doubt remarkable in the prevention of corruption, prolongation of hearings on sensitive issues wasted time and generated uncertainty in the country. The NRO case, memo commission, Haj corruption case, Arsalan Iftikhar case are a few examples which ended in vain.
Courts should not be selective in picking up the cases. On trivial emotional expressions of some politicians, the Supreme Court took notice and invoked contempt law while, on the other hand, on Senator Faisal Raza Abdi’s open allegations against judges and the Supreme Court in the media and in public, the judges showed restraint.
Exclusive selection of cases by courts would undermine the judicial neutrality.
Cleaning up mess before polls
THERE is a national consensus that the Election Commission of Pakistan must carry out close scrutiny of candidates in terms of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
The ECP has very wisely proposed to demand sworn declarations and supporting authentic documentary evidence, with the nomination paper covering all information which the ECP would verify, and the voters need to know. I would like to make some suggestions.
First, the list should include the expenditure on marriages in the immediate family during last the three years and challans/FIRs/cases in courts anywhere in the world against the aspirant or any dependent with their current status.
Second, the declarations should be loaded on the EC website for eliciting voter challenge.
And, finally, since the government, as well as the opposition, appears to have joined hands to constrict the ECP by letting it have too short a time for effective scrutiny and the apprehension that government officials may succumb to pressures and may not lend cooperation, something needs to be done as a counter-move.
To pre-empt, the ECP may approve such nomination papers whose scrutiny could not be completed ‘on a provisional basis’ and may then continue detailed scrutiny to decide the fate of the paper until satisfied or otherwise.
If it is found liable to be rejected, the paper should be rejected with all negative consequences for the candidate.
It should be deemed to have not been approved for allowing contest and if the candidate has won, his election be declared ineffective ab initio. So, the candidate bears all the risk associated with a wrong declaration.
M. H. ASIF