Dual nationality: politicians’ role
THIS is apropos of the thorny issue of the eligibility of dual nationality holders for election to our parliament and hence qualifying to become the commander-in-chief of the armed forces who has access to our nuclear assets.
As a citizen of Pakistan, whose forefathers had struggled hard for the creation of a sovereign independent democratic welfare state, I strongly feel that if the amendment to the Constitution is made, it will compromise our sovereignty and capacity to make decisions free from direct foreign influence.
Through these columns, I would request the services of a lawyer of repute who can help me file a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court. I wish to challenge any attempt to seek amendments to our Constitution which allows a dual nationality holder, who has publicly rejected loyalty to Pakistan while taking the oath of citizenship of a foreign country, to become a member.of the parliament.
This public interest litigation would require complimentary services of a lawyer of repute, who other than appreciation should not seek any financial remuneration for his services.
In the recent past, a well-known lawyer affiliated with the PPP took up an important case for a token fee of Rs100, which I am willing to offer. I request all political parties and their heads to rise above petty power politics and safeguard the sovereignty of Pakistan instead of trying to save a few of their parliamentarians who in spite of constitutional bar sought party tickets, committed perjury and managed to get elected.
I humbly request loyal Pakistani citizens and members of all political parties including the PPP, the PML (Q), MQM,
JUI (F), etc., to rise above petty party politics. They should take a unified stand against any move to allow individuals holding dual nationality to decide the fate of 180 million Pakistanis for whom this is the only motherland where they will live along with their families and assets and where they wish to be buried after death.
MALIK TARIQ ALI
PAKISTAN’s economic crisis will deepen if dual nationality holders are allowed to contest elections for the parliament.
Right to represent is different from the right to vote.
Those who seek to contest elections should renounce their oaths of allegiance to foreign countries and pledge to live in the constituencies that they desire to represent.
Almost 90 per cent of foreign remittances are sent by those Pakistani expatriates who do not hold or cannot possess foreign nationality in countries like the Middle East, Gulf states, Far East, etc., where they reside on work visas.
The Pakistani residents working in these countries, who hold any foreign nationality, remit their savings to the countries whose passport they hold. At least $15 billion remittances through normal banking channels to Pakistan are rerouted by corruption-dominated mafia in the civil, khaki bureaucracy, or the political elite and our traders who hold dual nationality.
Foreign currency smuggling racket is dominated by professional carriers working for hundi traders or PIA and shipping crew members holding dual nationality.
The money sent through hundi from the Middle East is another channel used by this mafia to transfer their ill-gotten money to foreign countries whose nationality they hold. Money is paid to families of the Pakistani expatriates in Pakistan at more attractive rates than offered by the banks, while savings of these expatriates are sent to the bank accounts of dual nationality holders.
As long as Pakistan does not prevent dual nationality holders from occupying senior positions in our bureaucracy and state-owned corporations, laws will be framed and policies deliberately drafted to keep loopholes for flight of capital from Pakistan.
The ministry of finance and State Bank are dominated by this mafia, which should explain cumbersome procedures, unattractive exchange rates and long delays that still exist for our expatriates eager to remit their savings to families in Pakistan.
HOW is it that our cabinet has suddenly realised the need for removing the dual nationality and the contempt of court laws?
Obviously, it is being done to protect dozens of parliamentarians who hold dual nationality (read loyalty). It is also an
attempt to further disobey the orders of the courts.
I would appeal to all sensible parliamentarians, no matter how few they might be, to reject these two laws.
DR SHANAWAZ SOOMRO
I would like to remind all Pakistanis that in August 1947, the Quaid-i-Azam, the highly principled lawyer that he was, refused to accept George Mountbatten as governor general of both India and Pakistan during the interim period of handing over of the governance from the British to the newly-independent states on the grounds of ‘conflict of interest’. The Quaid refused to accept Mountbatten as governor general, thinking how the governor general would act in case of a dispute between the two states.
I would also like to remind all Pakistanis that on October 27, 1947, Mountbatten personally commanded the invasion of Kashmir to bring it under India’s control, while British army officer Douglas David Gracey, who was heading the Pakistan Army during the transitional period, refused the Quaid’s order to send Pakistani troops to Kashmir to counter the Indian invasion.
THE suspension from parliament of members holding dual nationality is an over reaction on the part of the government over some imaginary problem. Dual nationality is based on agreements that Pakistan has negotiated with certain countries
including the US. There is a better way of meeting the concerns of our members of parliament.
Portugal, like Pakistan, has a large diaspora concentrated in western Europe and the Americas. To meet the desire of the émigré to keep alive contacts with the mother country, Portugal enacted a law enabling the émigré in Europe and the Americas to elect one member each to the Portugese parliament.
Such members can take part in all the activities of the parliament but do not have the right to vote. The analogy is not exact but the solution may be suitable for our needs. Taking away the right to vote from members with dual nationality should answer the concerns of our parliament members.
BIRJIS HASAN KHAN