Pak Interior Minister Rehman Malik suspended
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In a jolt to Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, the Supreme Court today suspended him from the membership of parliament on the ground that he had failed to provide proof of renouncing his British citizenship, raising questions over his continuance as a minister.
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry issued the interim order while hearing a petition challenging the dual nationality of several members of the two houses of parliament.
The bench had earlier given 60-year-old Malik time till today to produce a declaration issued by the UK Border Agency regarding the renunciation of British citizenship.
Malik's counsel submitted various documents and declarations to the apex court but did not furnish the declaration from the UK Border Agency.
The counsel was given a final opportunity to provide the document by this afternoon.
When the bench assembled after a recess of an hour, Malik's counsel again failed to submit the declaration.
The court then issued the interim order suspending Malik's membership of the Senate or upper house of parliament.
The Supreme Court asked Malik to prove by the next hearing on June 13 that he was not a British citizen when he contested polls to the Senate in 2008.
If he is unable to do so, the court will take further action against him, the order said.
The interim order did not state whether Malik could continue as the Interior Minister.
Legal experts said Malik could not function as a minister after the suspension of his membership of parliament.
In the past, Malik had functioned as a Special Advisor on Interior to the Prime Minister before being elected to the Senate.
Referring to documents submitted by Malik's counsel, the apex court pointed out that one declaration stated Malik had renounced his British citizenship in March 2008 while another stated this was done in April 2008.
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