Pakistan court suspends interior minister as MP
ISLAMABAD - Agence France-Presse
Indian Home Secretary R. K. Singh, left, shakes hand with Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik prior to their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday, May 25, 2012. AP photoPakistan's Supreme Court Monday temporarily suspended Interior Minister Rehman Malik as a member of parliament for allegedly running for office while still a British citizen, an official said.
The Pakistani constitution bars MPs from acquiring foreign nationality. Under Pakistani law, elected MPs can be ministers, although non-elected members of parliament can join the cabinet as advisors.
Malik, elected to the Senate or upper house of parliament in 2009, says he renounced his British citizenship and promised to submit documentary evidence in court.
But a certificate presented to a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday failed to satisfy the judges, a court official told AFP.
"The bench ordered the suspension of Rehman Malik's membership of the Senate," he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The court said Malik's membership would be restored if he furnished adequate proof on June 13 that he had renounced his British citizenship before his election, he said.
Members of the government have accused judges of overstepping their reach and of trying to bring down the Pakistan People's Party run government before it becomes the first elected administration in Pakistan to complete an elected term.
In April, the Supreme Court convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of contempt for refusing to ask Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Last month, it also temporarily suspended MP Farahnaz Ispahani, the wife of Pakistan's sacked ambassador to Washington and an advisor to Zardari. She holds dual Pakistani-US nationality.