Dual Nationality in Election Nomination


high-angle photo of coconut tree
high-angle photo of coconut tree

In a critical ruling, the Lahore High Court's Rawalpindi Bench dismissed the appeal of Azeem Bakhash Chaudhary, who challenged the rejection of his nomination papers for the PP-19, Murree and Kotli Sattian constituency. This decision underscores the stringent requirements for candidates regarding dual nationality under Pakistan's election laws.

Key Areas:

Grounds for Rejection: The Returning Officer (RO) rejected Chaudhary's nomination papers on December 30, 2023, due to his British citizenship, as confirmed by a report from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Chaudhary failed to provide evidence of renouncing his British citizenship, which is a prerequisite for eligibility under Pakistani election law.

Legal Framework: The court emphasized the relevance of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution of Pakistan, which outline the qualifications and disqualifications for membership in the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament). Specifically, Article 63(1)(c) disqualifies anyone who ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan or acquires the citizenship of a foreign state.

Judicial Precedents: The court cited the Supreme Court case "Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi v. Federation of Pakistan" (PLD 2012 SC 1089), which clarified that holding dual nationality disqualifies a candidate. The judgment further referenced "Suo Motu Case No. 8 of 2018" (PLD 2019 SC 201) to reinforce that acquiring foreign citizenship automatically disqualifies a person from being elected to Parliament unless the foreign citizenship is fully renounced.

Application of Law: The court found that Chaudhary had not initiated the process to renounce his British citizenship. The legal principle established in "Sher Baz Khan Gaadhi v. Muhammad Ramzan" (2018 SCMR 1952) was applied, affirming that holding dual nationality disqualifies a candidate from election eligibility.

Conclusion: Judge Mirza Viqas Rauf concluded that Chaudhary’s nomination papers were rightly rejected due to his dual nationality and the absence of any effort to renounce his foreign citizenship. The appeal was dismissed, underscoring the necessity for candidates to comply with constitutional requirements regarding citizenship.

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