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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has been moved against the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgment to dismiss a petition regarding appointment of Special Assistants to the Prime Minister (SAPMs) having dual nationalities.

Malik Munsif Awan on Tuesday filed the appeal under Article 185(3) of the Constitution through advocate Muhammad Ikram Chaudhry and made the Federation through the secretary Ministry of Law and Justice, the Election Commission of Pakistan, and the SAs to the PM as respondents.

The IHC on 30th July 2020 had turned down his appeal against the SAPMs' appointments.

"This petition is devoid of merits and thus dismissed in limine."

The bench ruled: "Rule 4(6) is one of such modes whereby the prime minister has been empowered to appoint special assistants. There is no restriction regarding the number of special assistants that can be appointed by the prime minister."

"There is also no restriction of appointing persons having dual nationality. The only restriction provided in the Constitution is under Article 63(1)(c) and it is confined to disqualification of a person "being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)", the IHC judgment said.

The petitioner said the Cabinet Division notification provides the details of assets and dual nationalities of 20 advisers and special assistants to the prime minister.

It also shows that out of 19 non-elected cabinet members, four special assistants to the PM held dual nationalities.

The SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar is a US citizen, the SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari hold citizenship of the UK, the SAPM on Power Division Shahzad Qasim, US citizen, SAPM on Digital Pakistan Tania S Aidrus is a Canadian national.

The petitioner submitted that according to the notification the SAPM on Political Affairs, Shahbaz Gill, and the SAPM on National Security, Moeed Yusuf, hold residency of USA, while the SAPM on Parliamentary Coordination Nadeem Afzal has residency of Canada.

He stated that in a poverty-stricken and debt-ridden nuclear state with billions in debts, appointment of foreign nationals, who have taken oath of allegiance to countries such as USA, UK, Canada and others, on key posts of national interest is a matter of serious concern and violation of law and the Constitution.

The petitioner said when so many enemies of Pakistan wanted to cap its nuclear assets and eliminate it then how could one expect to have unbiased and honest advice from these foreign national on matters of national security, economy, digitization and planning.

He questioned what mechanism has been devised to ensure pilferage of sensitive information on part of these individuals/respondents who have taken oath of allegiance to other countries and have access to sensitive information on nuclear assets.

The appointment of these individuals having adverse interest amounts to treason as it jeopardises the national interest of the country.

The appointment of these individuals also amount abrogation of oath of the PM's office, which envisages loyalty to Pakistan.

The petitioner sought the indulgence of the apex court to safeguard national interest of various departments and to secure sensitive information, and remove the foreign national SAPMs from their offices/ministries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020