Islamabad: In a major relief for Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Election Commission on Tuesday decided not to disqualify him as a legislator; weeks after the Supreme Court had said that he may lose membership of the Senate for making a false declaration about his citizenship.
Secretary Election Commission Afzal Khan said that no further proceedings will be conducted against Malik, Dawn News reported.
Khan said the decision was taken during a meeting of the Election Commission of Pakistan, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, following a reference sent by Deputy Chairman Senate Sabir Baloch regarding Malik's disqualification. The reference stated that there was no question of Malik's disqualification.
Secretary Election Commission Afzal Khan said that no further proceedings will be conducted against Rehman Malik.
In September, the Supreme Court had disqualified 11 members of parliament and provincial assemblies, for holding dual nationalities, forbidden for lawmakers by Pakistani law, but had spared Malik, leaving the ball in the Senate chairman's court to file a reference against him to the Election Commission within 30 days deciding on his disqualification. The only sentence the minister received was a court observation that he could not be considered sagacious, righteous, honest and ameen.
After the Supreme Court ruling, the Election Commission had announced that it would take legal action against 12 lawmakers, including Malik, with dual nationality for submitting false declarations about their citizenship during the 2008 polls. Earlier on Tuesday, Malik also filed a review petition against the apex court's sentence.
Malik, 60, said that the case was taken up against him on the request of an absconder and proclaimed offender Syed Mahmood Akhtar Naqvi. Malik also said that neither was he issued a notice, nor was he given the chance to be heard in court. Apex court had also suspended Malik's membership of the Senate in June on the ground that he had not provided proof of renouncing his British citizenship, Malik had resigned as a lawmaker. He had contested a bypoll to the Senate in July and was re-elected to the upper house.