Dual nationality bill
IN a rare show of public disagreement over proposed legislation, members of the ruling coalition, and even of the PPP itself, have spoken out against the dual nationality bill. That should provide some indication to the party that it needs to rethink its policy on the issue. The ANP has refused to support it, other major coalition partners have expressed reservations, and even party stalwarts such as Aitzaz Ahsan and Raza Rabbani are opposing it publicly. Given this, it is unlikely that the bill will survive, at least in its current form. While the PPP may be able to eventually push it through the Senate, it is not likely to be able to do so in the National Assembly with the two-thirds majority required.
What, then, is to be gained from pursuing the matter? In the absence of even internal support, the move seems to be aimed at saving the skins of a handful of legislators. At a time when the government is also pursuing a new contempt of court law, the attempt adds to the perception that its prime motivation is opportunistic politics. And given the party’s poor governance record, the move strengthens the general view that the administration is concerned with narrow interests rather than the national interest. Public sentiment on the issue is apparent, and is no doubt in part responsible for the stand taken by some members of the coalition as well as the opposition both inside and outside parliament. So with all the other issues the party is currently dealing with, from pressure due to the reopening of Nato supply routes to the NRO implementation case, pursuing this matter doesn’t appear to make sense. There is also the matter of the principle involved, which the government should ultimately be focusing on. At this point in its turbulent history, and given the widespread lack of faith in politicians among the Pakistani public, why should dual nationality holders not be willing to give up their foreign passports if they want to take on public office? This is one fight the government would do well to reconsider.