ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to place the name of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on the Exit Control List (ECL) and seriously pursue the criminal cases registered against him during the sit-in at the D-Chowk in 2014, sources told The News here on Thursday. “The decision to put the name of PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on the ECL was taken during a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal briefed the participants of the meeting about the cases registered against Dr Tahirul Qadri during the protest sit-in in 2014,” the sources said.
The sources said that the participants of the meeting also reviewed the present political situation and maintained there is no room for lockdowns or sit-ins as the people are going to use their right to vote in the upcoming general elections.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Minister of State Miftah Ismail were also present during the meeting and they also briefly expressed their views about the negative impacts of the sit-ins on the the national economy and global image of Pakistan.
As far as the media reports are concerned, PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri has currently no plan to take part in upcoming general elections as he is not ready to withdraw his Canadian nationality that bars him from contesting for the seat in parliament or the provincial assemblies.
Qadri has already maintained before his senior party members that he has Canadian citizenship but also holds the nationality of Pakistan but this ‘legal argument’ cannot overturn the ban on the dual nationals to contest in the general elections. Dr Tahirul Qadri also cannot hold any office in his own political party because the Election Commission of Pakistan has declared that the holders of dual nationality cannot hold any office in the political party.
In his ‘famous’ media talk on February 14, 2013, Dr Tahirul Qadri stated: “He cannot fall prey to emotions and give up his Canadian nationality --dual nationality doesn’t stop one from casting a vote- there is a difference between ‘elector and elected’.”
He resigned from the National Assembly seat on October 5, 2004, in protest against Pervez Musharraf's wearing of two caps of the Chief of Army Staff and the President of Pakistan. But, ironically, at that time he was against holding of dual offices in Pakistan and now he holds two nationalities and is absolutely not ready to surrender his Canadian nationality.
According to documents provided by the members of PAT, the Canadian government gave him citizenship on March 31, 1999. The name of Dr Tahirul Qadri was mentioned as religious leader. He was issued Canadian passport in 2005 and the reason for granting nationality is not political asylum.
Contrary to these claims, the reports published and televised in the various sections of the media revealed that the Canadian government approved the case of Dr Tahirul Qadri on October 2, 2009 and granted him Canadian citizenship and passport in 2012.
In 2012, in his media interview Dr Tahirul Qadri said, “I am a dual national of Pakistan and Canada. I am a Pakistan national by birth and origin and Canadian national by choice.”
The Pakistani-Canadian, Dr Tahirul Qadri, had taken the following oath of citizenship: “I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.”
The Supreme Court had trashed his petition in February 2013 for reconstitution of the ECP on the grounds that he had no locus standi for being declared ineligible to contest any election on account of his double citizenship. The oath he had taken committing allegiance to the Queen of England while getting the Canadian nationality was also read out to him in the court.