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Farahnaz’s dual nationality


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THE suspension of Farahnaz Ispahani’s National Assembly membership by the Supreme Court on the basis of holding dual nationality is a welcome decision.

Any person who has willingly pledged loyalty to another state should never be allowed to hold any public office whether elected or otherwise. Massive flight of capital from Pakistan and elements involved in money laundering are few corrupt civil and uniformed bureaucrats or members of the elected ruling elite who hold dual nationality or immigration status.

It is such elements sitting in positions of authority and on board of directors in the State Bank, PIA, FIA, FBR, KPT and members of the parliament who have kept loopholes to facilitate flight of billions of dollars out of this country. On the other hand, a large majority of Pakistani expatriates repatriate their savings to families in Pakistan.

We live in a country where a sitting most powerful governor of a province and his immediate family were taking dole from social security in the UK, while he was holding this post and occupying governor’s mansion in Pakistan.

The fact that this serious crime constituting a conspiracy against a social welfare state was not pursued to its logical conclusion only proves that such individuals serve interests of these countries where otherwise such criminals never escape severe punishment.

Farahnaz is not the only individual who holds a dual nationality status nor can only she be held responsible for withholding this information from the Election Commission.

After all, FIA, intelligence, airlines and security agencies in post 9-11 era share information with other nation’s immigration on movement of citizens. Political parties, who knowingly give tickets to dual nationality holders, are also responsible.

There are over 169 members of the National Assembly, Senate, provincial assemblies and ministers belonging to all political parties who hold dual nationality, and they did not disclose this information to the Election Commission.

Individuals like Dr Shakil Afridi will continue to serve interests of other nations as long as Pakistan and its institutions allow dual- nationality holders, or those with immigration status entitling them to acquire foreign nationality, occupy sensitive jobs and posts, run NGOs, where decisions are made that can affect the fate of this country.


Comments (14) Closed

Omar May 28, 2012 04:47am
I fail to understand the point being made. Is Mr. Zaman saying that Farahnaz and Shakil Afridi are the same? If so, Afridi is not a dual citizen, but only Pakistani. I don't think dual nationality should prevent people who want to serve Pakistan from serving Pakistan. What does need to happen is ensure that the same anti-corruption measures regarding flight of capital, awarding of contracts, etc should apply to dual nationals same as everyone else. Regarding Shakil Afridi, I think he certainly did the right thing even though he was a CIA spy. I don't know what we're jailing him for when we really should be ashamed that we didn't take care of our own business. If we're so angry, we could have easily sent him off to the US. And if that punishment encourages others to do the same, then we should consider what country we have created that our people will do anything to get out.
Ali May 28, 2012 05:22am
The notion that people holding dual nationalities are all crooks is inherently wrong. these people left the country because there were no opportunities availalbe to them without sfarish and or connections. they have served the country by making remittances which make up the bulk of the foreign exchange income of the country. No one seems to take that into consideration or give it any value. However,allowing them to enter politics by standing for elected posts may be stopped. Having them come back and serve the country in jobs and positions should be encouraged not stopped. there is a lot of talent out there and we should welcome them back. Reverse brain drain should be encouraged and welcomed. Hardworking dual nationals probably cannot afford to come back and fiancne there bids for elected offices. too mcuh money required. source of funding for election campaign should be questioned, no one pays taxes but can spend billions to win elections and then once elected they recoup that money in a hurry. Present set up is a live example.
M Rafique May 28, 2012 06:57am
What are the reasons to conceal the names of 169 members of National Assembly, senate, provincial assemblies and ministers belonging to all political parties
z kazmi May 28, 2012 10:55am
i would like to RE-PHRASE, 'Individuals like Dr Shakil Afridi will continue to serve interests of other nations as long as Pakistan and its institutions allow dual- nationality holders' -------- AS-------- 'Individuals like Dr Shakil Afridi will continue to serve humanity as long as Pakistan Army and ISI continue proving shelter to terrorists like OBL.'
Aziz May 28, 2012 11:33am
It is a misconception to say that people taking up foreign nationality serve their mother country by making remittances. They make remittances to their families. But the amount keeps diminishing and tapering off as the person takes root in the new country. Many use Hawalas depriving the mother country of the foreign exchange anyway. Although detailed research is scanty but point in this direction. When a person works for the state directly in sensitive areas there is a need for clarity about the loyalty of the person. There should be no conflict of interest, real or perceived. Why do we not reverse the situation and ask whether a member of the US Congress or Senate or Army will be allowed to retain dual nationality? Would it be general or specific to selected countries? Maintaining dual nationality is a convenience which should not be allowed in Pakistan for people in sensitive and strategic position. A very small minority are ever going to return to the mother country except for meeting friends and relatives. In case of real conflict where would their loyalty lie? There is no need to allow dual nationality to such people. Those who are working overseas for economic reasons can easily acquire residence status and live indefinitely in the host country. At least the loyalty of such people are very clearly defined. In the case of Frahnaz Ispahani and many like her one cannot be so sure. In her position she should make a clear choice and the law should be very clear and unequivocal.
guest May 28, 2012 12:54pm
how about nisar ali khan
Gerry D'Cunha May 28, 2012 01:24pm
Why are we Pakistanis so hypocrates? Aren't there Pakistanis holding dual nationality holding position in the House of Lords, Councilors and government employees. Tomorrow if the British government take the same step as Pakistan has done, then what, Aren't the Pakistanis holding government posts in UK serving the people of United Kingdom as well as their own communities. The British Government has no objection on its Citizen holding dual nationality. When are we really going to be mutured.
msausa May 28, 2012 02:15pm
I agree with the writer on not holding elected or public offices by dual citizens. My only question is does such a law exist in Pakistan which disallow them holding public office? If not then supreme court's decision is illegal. If such law does not exist, it should be enacted at earnest.
Indian May 28, 2012 02:17pm
I'm Indian and let me say that rule holds good every where that expats be it Indian or Pakistani don't deserve any special treatment in their motherland.The remittances made by the expats are never keeping in mind the betterment of their nation but, the benefit of themselves and probably their family.Eventhough one can argue that it is such individual units which make up the nation, the argument is still not good enough to confer the expats with any special benefits.
Aziz May 28, 2012 03:55pm
The subject of dual nationality is for the government of each country to decide. India , our neighbour , despite having a very successful and vibrant diaspora DOES NOT ALLOW DUAL NATIONALITY. There is absolutely no reason for Pakistan to do anything otherwise. If the UK allows dual nationality then it is the prerogative of the UK government to permit. Where is the hypocrisy of Pakistanis involved in such a case as the honourable writer seems to suggest?
malik May 28, 2012 05:28pm
Ali I don't think you get it. No one in any civilian or governmental post where he has to decide between the two countries should hold dual nationality. People who left to go overseas did so on their own for whatever reasons. We all made mistakes but the biggest one was for abandoning Pakistan, we left rather than face and correct the issue at hand. I am guilty of that and I realise what a mistake I made for myself and my "future" generations of "ABCD". Look at the crooked politicians looting and plundering this nation is this why so many people died at partion so these crooks could enjoy life,look at todays economy versus a few years ago.Read the article written by A.Q. Khan about Karachi
Aamir May 28, 2012 05:54pm
Way to go - no public office for dual passport holders - because we are the most corrupt people in the whole world. So stop comparing with British or any other civilized country with Pakistan....
ahmed May 28, 2012 09:40pm
If you think of the prime ministers like Moeen ud din Qureshi and Shaukat Aziz who came to govern Pakistan and returned, as it used to happen in British Raj when viceroys were nominated by the royal majesty and after their tenure bid farewell and moved back to their Great Britain. Thinking of that one does consider that the rule must imply for all the sitting viceroys in the parliament.
SSA Jun 01, 2012 04:40am
Dr. Afridis’s case has come in media because of OBL, otherwise you find number of them. To know more such persons, read book written by Ex- foreign Minister Zain Nurani who served in the cabinet of Zia Ulk Haque.