Transparency International asks ECP to remove caretaker minister for being ‘dual national’ | Pakistan Today

Transparency International asks ECP to remove caretaker minister for being ‘dual national’

KARACHI: Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to immediately take action against Sindh’s caretaker minister for being British national and hiding assets worth millions of pounds, it was learnt on Thursday.

In this regard, TIP’s Trustee and former judge of Supreme Court  (SC) of Pakistan Zia Perwez has forwarded a letter to ECP’s deputy director (Elections) Islamabad, Sindh government’s secretary (Services) Muhammad Riazuddin and General Administration & Coordination Department for further action.

According to Perwez, TIP has received a complaint on the allegation of appointment of British national Dr Junaid Shah as caretaker minister.

The complainant maintained that Dr Junaid is a British national and he owns millions of pounds undeclared assets in London and the SC on September 20, 2012, had ruled that lawmakers holding dual nationalities are not eligible to hold any public offices and declared all such lawmakers as disqualified.

It was reminded to the ECP and other authorities that a three-judge bench led by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary had earlier reserved its ruling in the case relating to legislators holding dual nationality.

The ECP has also annulled the assembly membership of the 11 disqualified lawmakers in accordance with the SC’s judgement. The lawmakers include Zahid Iqbal, Farahnaz Isphani, Muhammad Ikhlaq, Ashraf Chauhan, Nadia Gabol, Amina Buttar, Jameel Awan, Waseem Qadir, Farhat Mahmood Khan, Nadeem Khadim and Ahmed Ali Shah, it was stated.

“Minister is defined as a public office holder under NAO 1999 Section 5(m) holder of public office means a person (iii) is, or has been, the chief minister, speaker provincial assembly, deputy speaker provincial assembly, provincial minister, advisor to chief minister, special assistant to the chief minister, provincial parliamentary secretary, member of the provincial assembly, advocate general including additional advocate general, assistant advocate general, political secretary, consultant to chief minister and who holds or has held a post of office with the rank or status of a Provincial Minister, ” TIP said while referring to the relevant laws.

The appointment of Dr Junaid being a British national should be declared illegal, the complainant said, adding that TIP has examined the complaint and has noticed that the complainant has made very serious allegations against the appointment of Dr Junaid as a minister, being a British citizen and also an allegation of hiding foreign assets.

TIP requested that immediate action should be taken by the chief election commissioner to take Dr Junaid’s statement on oath about denial of the two allegations against him and in case the allegations are correct, declare this appointment as illegal.

Chief Elections Commissioner has also been requested to take dual nationality statement on oath from all caretaker ministers in federal and provincial governments.

TIP works for the rule of law and efforts to stop corruption.

The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Karachi Bureau.

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