–Ali Zahid, Jahanaara Wattoo, Murad Raas, Mujtaba Kharal, Ahmed Yar Hiraj among dual nationals
–Arshad Leghari, Qasim Shah, Arsala Hoti, Fauzia Kasuri, Maleeka Bukhari also hold foreign nationality
–More than 12 per cent electoral candidates face criminal charges
ISLAMABAD: Major political parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are set to suffer a major dent as the country’s premier investigation agency, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), has labeled dozens of potential future lawmakers as dual nationals.
Although there is no update whether these politicians have initiated the process to renounce their foreign nationalities, there is a likelihood that most of them would be barred from entering the political arena.
According to a report submitted by the FIA to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), around one hundred and twenty-two individuals have been identified as dual nationals.
The report said that all those dual nationals who have initiated renunciation process to surrender their respective foreign nationality have been treated as dual nationals.
The list carried the name of former law minister Zahid Hamid son’ Ali Zahid, Manzoor Wattoo’s daughter Jahan Aara Wattoo, former state minister and PPP candidate from Okara Rai Ghulam Mujtaba Kharal, former state minister and PTI candidate from NA-151 Khanawal Ahmed Yar Hiraj and others.
According to the details, Ali Zahid was the only hope for Zahid Hamid who is a candidate of PML-N from NA-74 Sailkot-Pasroor. It is worth mentioning that Zahid Hamid has already decided to end his long political career and had decided to launch his son in his place.
According to the report, Ali Zahid holds the nationality of Singapore. Jahan Aara Watoo holds the nationality of United Kingdom (UK) while Rai Mujtaba Kharal is a national of Canada. Ahmed Yar Hiraj also holds Canadian nationality.
Former minister and PTI’s candidate from NA-151 and PP-205 Khanewal Ahmed Yar Hiraj is a Canadian national while PTI candidate from PP-232 Sahiwal Muhammad Ali Langrial holds British nationality. Though Langrial claims he has renounced his dual nationality, he needs to prove his claim.
Former state minister for industry and productions Sardar Arshad Khan Leghari is a British national.
PPP’s candidate from PS-19 Sardar Nadir Akmal Leghari holds US nationality. Former Sindh chief minister and candidate from PS-80 Murad Ali Shah is Canadian national while PML-N candidate from PK-42 Mansehra Syed Qasim Shah is a British national. Former MPA from Mardan Arsala Khan Hoti is a British national while Ziaullah Khan from PK-6 holds Irish nationality.
Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) candidate from NA247 Fauzia Kasuri is a US national while PTI candidate from NA-249 Karachi Fesal Vawda is also a US national. In addition, PPP candidate for the reserved seat of National Assembly (NA) Maleeka Bukhari is a British national, former MNA from Gujjar Khan Chaudary Muhammad Khusheed Zaman also holds British nationality, PML-N candidate from NA-66 Nadeem Khadim son of former MPA Chaudhry Khadim Hussain is also a British national.
Jahangir Khanzada, son of former provincial minister Shujaa Khanzada, is a British national. Former MPA Member Tariq Subhani who is the son of former Punjab minister Chaudhry Akhtar Vario is a US national. He is the PML-N candidate from PP-38 Sailkot-IV.
PTI’s top leader from Punjab Murad Raas has also been identified as a US national. His disqualification may prove to be a major dent for PTI. Basmaa Chaudhary, who is a candidate from PP-66 is a US national. PTI candidate from PP-167 Lahore Muhammad Atif Chaudhry is a British National who claims to have renounced his British nationality.
MORE THAN 12 PER CENT ELECTORAL CANDIDATES FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES:
At least 2,720 candidates out of total 21,482 who are contesting in the upcoming general elections currently face criminal charges in different cases.
A local news outlet, citing official data from National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Database Registration Authority (NADRA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and District Returning Officers (DRO), reported that 2,720 candidates contesting for the 1,070 seats of national and provincial assemblies in the upcoming elections, face corruption, criminal, rape, dual nationality, money laundering, extortion, loans/bank defaulting, human smuggling and murder charges in Pakistan.
It is worth mentioning that the probability of such cases being politically motivated cannot be ruled out.
Over 1,270 out of around 9,447 candidates for 545 NA and PA seats are facing corruption and criminal inquires/investigation in Punjab, 435 out of around 2,912 aspirants for 172 NA and PA seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 775 out of around 4,972 applicants for 243 NA and PA seats in Sindh, 235 out of around 1,835 for 85 NA and PA seats in Balochistan and five out of around 126 aspirants for three NA seats are facing criminal charges in the federal capital, revealed the data obtained from aforementioned institutions. The volume of their alleged embezzled amount is said to be exceeding Rs800 billion. More than half of these 2,715 candidates are said to be in a winning position and they all are representing around half a dozen prominent political parties.
PTI, PPP, PML-N and the MQM-P have awarded more tickets to such candidates as compared to other smaller political parties. More than 401 candidates of PTI are facing corruption, criminal, rape, money laundering or drug smuggling charges, including 588 aspirants of PPP, 485 of PML-N, 770 independent candidates, 135 candidates of MQM-P, 122 leaders of PSP, 52 aspirants of the Awami National Party (ANP), 69 of Jammiat-e-Ulema Islam Fazl (JUI-F), 49 of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), 52 of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), 31 of National Party (NP), 31 Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), 25 of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), 19 Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), eight candidates of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), two of Awami Muslim League (AML) and the rest of the aspirants belonged to smaller political groups.
Around 122 individuals have allegedly had dual nationality, more than 223 are SNGPL defaulters and nearly a thousand are bank defaulters. Around 200 individuals, who got their loans worth nearly Rs54 billion, waived off would be facing NAB’s investigation soon after the Supreme Court (SC) warned of stern actions against the ones who got their loans written off politically.
The number of candidates who are facing either corruption or criminal charges would be more than 2,700 as officially, the data would be released later on for DROs rejected over 2,500 nomination papers of aspirants across the country.
This data is still being collected by the concerned authorities.
ECP officials said that the data of thousands of aspirants for 2018 polls is still being collected. In Punjab, 141 DROs have collected this data, 25 in KP, 27 in Sindh, 34 in Balochistan, and one DRO in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), they said.
Among prominent individuals is ex-MPA Nawab Sardar Ahmed Chandio, one of the aspirants for PPP ticket to contest the election, who was charge-sheeted in a triple murder case. Farooq Bandial, whose membership was suspended hours after joining the PTI, was convicted in a rape case. Arshad Mahmood Gondal alias Cuckoo, who was awarded PTI ticket from PP-65 Mandi Bahauddin, is facing serious cases involving murders, kidnapping, rape, theft and most importantly, punishment by a NAB court.
PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari is facing a trial for assets beyond known sources of income. PTI Chairman Imran Khan faces NAB inquiry for illegally using a KP government helicopter and terrorism charges for allegedly attacking PTV building during the 2014 Islamabad sit-in.
Former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif also faces NAB inquires in different cases allegedly involving embezzlement of billions of rupees. Similarly, the top corruption watchdog is also probing two prominent PML-N leaders, Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz, in different corruption cases.
Former KP chief minister Pervez Khattak also faces NAB investigations in different corruption cases pertaining to billions of rupees losses to the national exchequer.
Among other prominent politicians, who are now contesting elections and face similar charges, are ex-premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar, PSP chief Mustafa Kamal, former federal ministers Khawaja Asif and Khawaja Saad Rafique, former chief ministers of Balochistan Aslam Raisani and Sanaullah Zehri, and ex-premier Raja Pervez Ashraf.
Another former Punjab chief minister Dost Mohammad Khosa was charged in a case pertaining to the kidnapping and murder of actress Sapna Khan.
Former military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf faces serious charges of abrogating the Constitution of Pakistan.
Among other figures are PTI’s Aleem Khan, Jaffar Khan Leghari, former JUI-F MPA Abdul Rehman Khetran, former provincial ministers Obaidullah Babat and Maulana Abdul Wasay, ex-federal ministers Tariq Fazl Chaudhry, Saira Afzal Tarrar, Kamran Michael and Riaz Pirzada.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also faces NAB investigation pertaining to alleged illegal allotment of hundreds of kanals of lands owned by the state in Dera Ismail Khan.
Former Sindh chief minister Murad Ali Shah, Faisal Vawda, Nadir Leghari and Fauzia Kasuri are also among prominent aspirants, who are facing allegations of dual nationality.
Majority of charges seem to be politically motivated against these aspirants, which are yet to be proven in the court of law.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is among a few prominent political figures, who are not facing any investigation either by the NAB, FIA, SECP or any other state institutions.