The ‘UK citizen’ who couldn’t remain a Pakistan minister

Pakistan home minister Rehman Malik has lost that job,with his Senate membership cancelled after the Supreme Court found that he holds British nationality. Here is how this came about

Written by Ruchika Talwar | New Delhi | Published:June 8, 2012 12:57 am

Pakistan home minister Rehman Malik has lost that job,with his Senate membership cancelled after the Supreme Court found that he holds British nationality. Here is how this came about.

How did he acquire British nationality?

The chain of events dates back to 1996 when Malik was director-general in Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency . He is said to have reported corrupt practices by prime minister Nawaz Sharif to President Rafiq Tarar,after which he was dismissed and moved to London. Benazir Bhutto too was in exile in London then. Malik applied for British citizenship and also became close to Benazir. When Benazir returned to Pakistan in 2007,he took charge of her personal security.

How did he become a minister?

Malik was a member of Pakistan’s Upper House,the Senate,and has never contested an election. Pakistan’s Constitution allows the PM to choose up to five advisers of a minister’s rank. The current government,which came to power in 2008,chose Malik as “Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior” before he was “upgraded” to minister’s rank in 2009 and made senator on a reserved seat.

Does he remain UK citizen?

He has renounced that but the date when he applied has been key to the ruling. Iqbal Haider,who was minister for law and justice in Benazir’s government,and who now practises in the Supreme Court,says: “Rehman Malik may have renounced his British nationality,but that is not important any more. We are missing the crucial point that the date on which he applied for the renunciation is important. Was it before he was appointed adviser in 2008 or as late as May 28,2012,as reported? If this is so,his appointment was not only unconstitutional but also a case of perjury. He filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in his defence claiming that he had applied for the renunciation of his British nationality in 2008. Months earlier,he had asserted that he didn’t have any other nationality. Perjury disqualifies him from holding any government office.”

Where does he stand now?

He is no longer a minister but an adviser. But by apologising to the court,Malik has become unfit to hold any office,Haider says.

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