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Friday Jul 27, 2012

Rehman Malik takes oath as Senator

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's de facto interior minister Rehman Malik, a close aide to President Asif Ali Zardari, was Friday sworn back into parliament just weeks after being forced to step down over his alleged British citizenship.

Rehman Malik was elected unopposed at a by-election in the same seat for the Senate, or upper house of parliament, which he held prior to his June suspension, paving the way for him to be reconfirmed as a cabinet minister.

The swearing-in ceremony was broadcast live on state television.

The Supreme Court suspended Malik from parliament on June 4 for allegedly running for the Senate in 2009 while still holding British citizenship.

The Constitution bars MPs from acquiring foreign nationality.

Documents that Malik submitted to the court failed to convince judges that he had renounced his dual nationality before being elected.

Under the constitution, only members of parliament can hold the rank of cabinet minister.

After his suspension, Malik was swiftly appointed the prime minister's "advisor" on interior affairs, effectively allowing him to keep his interior ministry job.

The by-election was held in Karachi, although Malik is originally from the central province of Punjab.

The Karachi seat won by Malik is reserved for technocrats. Malik is a former official from the Federal Investigation Agency.