Pak SC grills cleric Qadri over Canadian citizenship

Pakistan`s Supreme Court grilled cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who recently led a protest against the government.

Updated: Feb 11, 2013, 23:58 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court today grilled cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who recently led a protest against the government, about his Canadian citizenship and the reasons for his petition seeking the reconstitution of the Election Commission.
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry repeatedly questioned Qadri`s locus standi in the matter of the composition of the Election Commission.
Qadri had contended in his petition that the poll panel was formed in an unconstitutional manner.

The bench directed Qadri, who heads the Minhaj-ul-Quran, to submit by tomorrow documents regarding his claims to be a stakeholder in Pakistan`s democratic system and the notification about his dual nationality.

The bench was hearing a constitutional petition filed by Qadri under a constitutional provision related to fundamental rights of citizens.
In his petition, Qadri wanted a declaration from the court against the composition of the Election Commission.

At the start of proceedings, the Chief Justice stopped Qadri from praising the judiciary and drew his attention towards his contentions.

Replying to a query from the bench, Qadri said he had applied for Canadian citizenship in 1997 and got it in 2005.

The Chief Justice asked Qadri whether a person who had acquired the nationality of another country could retain Pakistani nationality.

He reminded the cleric that when he got the citizenship of another country, he showed allegiance to that country.

"Can the government of Pakistan, with all respect to you, allow such a person to retain its citizenship? the Chief Justice asked.

Such a person cannot be elected to parliament under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, he added.

Qadri acknowledged he was not allowed to contest elections he said he could retain his Pakistani nationality.

He contended he had taken up an issue that was of general interest and could be heard by the apex court.

The bench then adjourned the matter till tomorrow.