Should Pakistan allow dual citizens to contest elections? Yes

There's no rational reason for depriving dual citizens of a basic right.

Published 02 Aug, 2019 03:58pm

Pakistan currently bars dual citizens from running for parliament. Article 63-1(c) of the Constitution says that "A person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, or being a member of the Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) if he ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan, or acquires the citizenship of a foreign state."

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is now proposing an amendment to this clause. Many are accusing the PTI of taking another u-turn as Prime Minister Imran Khan has vehemently opposed such a move on many occasions in the past. While the charge carries weight, the more important issue is whether the move itself makes sense on rational grounds.

This debate must be viewed from a human rights perspective which argues that the basic rights enjoyed by people by virtue of their citizenship must only be curtailed based on strong public security reasons.

Editorial: Lawmakers’ nationality

Democracies generally give priority to citizen rights over security concerns unless such concerns are serious and demonstrable. However, they avoid preemptively abrogating the basic rights of whole groups of citizens based on weak suspicions of possible future wrongdoings by them. Contesting elections is one such basic citizenship right.

Pakistan allows dual citizenship, but it stripped dual citizens off the right to contest elections — something that's available to all other law-abiding adult citizens — in the 1973 Constitution.

Thus, there is a very large qualitative difference between the two categories of persons barred from contesting elections — from specific individuals who have already committed a crime (Pakistan bans citizens from running for office if they are "found guilty of a corrupt or illegal practice under any law," among other things) to a whole group of persons who have not yet committed any crime. So, this is a preemptive ban.

In some cases, states do preemptively curtail some rights, but usually for brief periods, if the risk is high. So how high is the risk that dual citizens will actually harm Pakistan’s interests if they are allowed to become legislators?

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To answer this question, one must look at evidence from countries which have been allowing dual citizens to contest elections for decades, including most of the 19 countries with which Pakistan allows dual citizenship.

In doing so, one finds no evidence that legislators with dual citizenship are usually or even often treasonous. In fact, dual citizens served even in Pakistani legislatures for several decades before the ban started being applied in earnest after 2008. But even from Pakistan, there is no evidence that any dual-citizen legislator played a treasonous role.

People give the examples of Shaukat Aziz and Moeen Qureshi as dual-citizen politicians who harmed Pakistan’s interests and fled abroad. However, it is not established as fact that they held second passports.

Furthermore, while one can criticise some of their specific policies, it is hard to argue that their policies were more harmful than those of our other civilian and military rulers, some of whom also fled abroad despite not holding dual citizenship.

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Dual citizenship can potentially create multiple loyalties. However, when someone has to make a choice, he/she can also prioritise one’s country of birth, present residence and high-level political involvement over the country where one is merely a naturalised, non-resident or ordinary citizen.

People argue that the American oath requires renouncing previous loyalties and bearing arms. Adapted from 16th century British oaths, it has become antiquated and unenforceable. The United States started allowing dual citizenship in 1967 (for Pakistanis, a formal treaty in this regard was signed between Washington and Islamabad in 2002) which means that immigrants can retain previous allegiances and run for public offices. The country also abolished its conscription laws in 1973.

The potential minor risks associated with dual citizens do not justify preemptive, lifetime and group-wide bans. At most, some precautionary measures would suffice.

The concern is that people who have no ties or investment in Pakistan may become legislators. To address it, the parliament could mandate residency and tax filing requirements of two or three years before one could become a legislator or cabinet member.

These requirements would apply not only to dual citizens but to all Pakistanis, including those who may be living abroad on long-term work or residency visas. Even otherwise, it is unlikely that anyone could win an election in Pakistan without fulfilling such residency requirements and developing roots in a particular constituency.

This would make it impossible for persons without any stakes or residency in Pakistan to be appointed to reserved assembly and senate seats or as governors, cabinet advisers or special assistants.

Dual citizens could also be barred from certain sensitive elected and non-elected executive positions, such as prime and foreign ministers, rather than ordinary parliament seats which individually have limited authority.

View from the diaspora: At Imran's US jalsa, only the containers were missing

One finds no rational reason or evidence for depriving dual citizens of their basic right to contest elections. In fact, the arguments in favour are part of the xenophobia that swept Pakistan once ties with Western countries deteriorated after 2008. This is borne by the fact that there was little effort to apply the bar on dual citizens before that year.

Now, as ties start to mend after Imran Khan's visit to the US, it is hoped that this xenophobia will start to recede. Not only should Pakistan permit dual citizens to contest elections, it should also increase the number of countries with which dual citizenship is allowed.

With globalisation, dual citizenship is becoming more common and beneficial for not only the individuals but also the countries involved. Pakistan should join the trend more prominently.

Header illustration by Leea Contractor

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Author Image

Niaz Murtaza is a senior fellow with UC Berkeley and heads INSPIRING Pakistan, a progressive think tank. He is also a dual citizen. Follow him on Twitter @NiazMurtaza2

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (115) Closed

Aug 02, 2019 04:00pm
BIG NO. All who will participate in elections, must be rich, lot of money required, and they all are foreign spies, no doubt.
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Aug 02, 2019 04:04pm
IK is asking to allow dual citizens to contest elections ONLY after they surrender the foreign citizenship. Please do some research before hacking away at the keyboard!
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masud ahmed
Aug 02, 2019 04:11pm
no no
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Aug 02, 2019 04:12pm
I fully disagree with allowing any expat double passports holders to either participate or contest elections here. It's a serious security risk.
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Aug 02, 2019 04:17pm
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Aug 02, 2019 04:18pm
Bad idea and remember Hussain Haqqani and his spouse.
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Jamil Soomro, New York City
Aug 02, 2019 04:25pm
Quite an important article by Dr.Niaz Murtaza taking into account the stark global realities of today affecting citizens of Pakistan living abroad.Qualified people holding expertise in various fields would definitely want to serve their motherland.This decision would be welcomed by everyone.
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Aug 02, 2019 04:30pm
No. It will be a joke and no confidence in a country of more than 200 million people who only want to be a citizen of Pakistan.
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Azam Chowdhry
Aug 02, 2019 04:32pm
Dual citizens should not be allowed to contest elections. They can work in advisory committee, and hold any kind of jobs.
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Aug 02, 2019 04:33pm
Dual citizens are not allowed to hold public office in any country, anywhere. Australia has a governor general and has the queen on its currency. But a British-Australian dual national cannot hold public office. They made them leave office or give up their second nationality. It'd be very hard for the current government to justify this. They had the previous incumbents disqualified over an "iqama", which is basically a work visa, even less than a business visa. Only those living in a specific constituency consistently for years, can speak for those people. Uninterrupted residence in a specific neighborhood and area, without having left to another country, is how you understand the issues of the people living there. Social media and talking to your friends/family over the phone is insufficient. It's an unfair and unreasonable demand. It is also horrible for a representative democracy. We did this in the past where a PM parachuted to office and left us without any decent policies.
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Aug 02, 2019 04:37pm
The short answer is an emphatic NO. This change would require a amendment to our Constitution and if I am not wrong the Supreme Court has a ruling against it. It appears that this subject is being raised to benefit a few opportunists. In short, come enjoy the perks and all that goes with bring in government and then when things get ' hot ' claim you are a ' Britisher / American/ Canadian etc ' and leave and no one can touch's a back door exit and wrong in principle.
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Aug 02, 2019 04:54pm
Yes they should be allowed.
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Aug 02, 2019 04:57pm
Strongly oppose dual nationality holders contesting elections and then occupy public positions. IK got excited from public meeting organised by oversees countrymen living in USA. People rightly project him an emotional person. Why to pick up non issue that is already taken care of in the constitution. If you want to seriously help Pakistani expatriates, provide them condusive economic conditions and rule of law so that they can invest here and pay frequent visits.
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Khan zar USA
Aug 02, 2019 05:00pm
Well written article. The Pakistanis with all nationalities are probably more honest professional and patriotic than Pakistani living and even serving in the parliament , Security forces and judiciary or in private sectors. This sent more than $20 billion every year to Pakistan to support this country. There’s a lot of hypocrisy, on one hand the Pakistani love to receive $20 billion every year from the overseas Pakistanis including dual nationals and yet they do not allow them to run for the office. A country like America, the strongest nation on the planet at this point allows dual national to run for Senate and Congress, why Pakistan is not allowing one of the brightests And smartest people who are serving in other countries on a very high positions? These folks can bring Pakistan out of trouble and prove that if they can lead the west they are far more suited to lead the east as well.
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Aug 02, 2019 05:11pm
I disagree with this notion that diaspora should be allowed to contest election in Pakistan especially when they are already citizens of other countries. After taking oath for another country and constitution, loyolties are divided. In my opinion, only those citizens who have absolute loyolty to the land are the one ought to be allowed to make laws and should be entrusted with executive positions. In fair weather dual citizens will serve the country, in difficult times, they will fly out of the country.
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Aug 02, 2019 05:12pm
Yes there is a valid reason for denying this right to any dual nationality holders. These persons must have taken an oath of allegiance to the other country and in times of any controversy arising between Pakistan and that country, they could be subjected to a turmoil which will be not of their making but the conflict of interest may cause them to suffer in either place. That one single aspect makes it less desirable to grant such voting rights to them in the first place. Besides, they may be billionaires in dollar terms but would have little or no knowledge about the problems being faced by Pakistanis in their own country. If they are really interested in serving this country's people, they are welcome to it after surrendering their other citizenships as has been the case in the past.
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Aug 02, 2019 05:16pm
No. The individual decided to take oath for another country.
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Aug 02, 2019 05:25pm
Does India allow dual citizenship for politicians ? Bureaucracy, Military and Politicians should not be allowed dual citizenship.
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Aug 02, 2019 05:31pm
Dual Citizen who have taken an Oath of loyalty to another country. When they sit in parliament their loyalties will lie with what country? Pakistan of their new country in either case they will be breaking their oath to their home or adopted country
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Imran Ahmed
Aug 02, 2019 05:38pm
I am a foreign national. You can allow dual national Pakistanis to be legislators the day when you allow a wife to have two separate husbands. I am amazed at the lack of spine and loss of moral compass of our writers. How can anyone possibly argue that dual national possibly testify to be bearr of secrets of two separate countries. Appalling .
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aziz alam
Aug 02, 2019 05:40pm
No ! People who have already taken allegiance to another country can not be loyal to Pakistan!
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Malik Saab
Aug 02, 2019 05:45pm
So this rule will apply to Afghan citizens as well?. Are we allowed to contest elections in their countries?. Then why they will be allowed in our country?.Also how come a person can take the oath of two countries and be loyal to both of them?. A citizen of a western country will uphold Western and secular values, where our constitution will compel the same person to follow Islamic traditions.Can someone follow two different ideologies at the same time?.
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Aug 02, 2019 05:54pm
dual citizens should not be allowed to be part of legislation. what if a law/decision has to be passed against the second country, what choice would the legislator have.
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Tariq Turi
Aug 02, 2019 06:00pm
We should also able to get a government jobs as a dual citizens. India allow their dual citizens. There is a lot of people to serve Pakistan, if we allow them. Thank you
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Saif Zulfiqar
Aug 02, 2019 06:06pm
On one condition. They should attend all the sessions of parliaments.
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Aug 02, 2019 06:10pm
Why such citizens exists? They exists due to failure of governance in Pakistan. They should be encouraged to participate in improving governance of Pakistan and make it a better place for next generation so that next generation don't have to become dual citizens. Enough said.
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Aug 02, 2019 06:25pm
If anyone want to contest elections in a county, there should be no doubt where their allegiances lie. Dual nationality is that one extra reason to doubt the fealty of the contestant. If a dual national so badly wants to contest an election in Pakistan, let them give up their other nationality. There should be no room for double-mindedness. Dual nationals should not be allowed to contest elections.
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Aug 02, 2019 06:31pm
I am expat myself and I strongly believe NO. The reason is common people like me won't contest or won't be able to contest and we all know the reasons. It will more likely be individuals with bags of money here and in Pakistan will run for parliament upper or lower house. We have our own reasons why we are living in western world so in my opinion if we have left our country behind so we should not be able to contest. I know we all support Pakistan one way or the other. There are a lot of other ways you can help Pakistan or support with NGO's or open your own, sponsor as many as orphans in Pakistan etc. etc.
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Aug 02, 2019 06:33pm
I even I'm dual national but for sake of goidness will say big NO, even I will support one nationality, either someone is Pakistani or NOT.
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Hazoor Khan
Aug 02, 2019 06:34pm
Yes, Pakistani with one nationality shall be allowed to vote and take jobs in Pakistan. In USA, US federal government does allow dual citizens to accept federal jobs. Therefore, Pakistani has take only one passport. It is not a choice.
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mahmooda rana
Aug 02, 2019 06:38pm
I completely disagree with this opinion of PTI government. Giving overseas Pakistanis right to vote is ok, a good decision, but contesting in elections is completely out. Imran Khan has been against this all along, its unbelievable how can even consider such a thing. It can have very devastating consequences. We must raise our voice against this decision.
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Aug 02, 2019 06:39pm
Actually I disagree. For some years, we should not allow. Infact, for at least nnnn years, anyone having property abroad, children studying abroad and most essentially bank accounts other than any foreign citizenship should NOT be allowed. A range of reasons, firstly, that dual national while taking oath in many countries pledges allegiance to the new state, even against the old one if required. Secondly, a dual national does NOT really in most cases, have all his stakes here. He or she inherently has an escape route, should things fail or the person gets caught etc etc Locals, or home desi candidates may be labelled more corrupt, is not true. That they are less educated and have less exposure, may be true but this far out weighs the aforementioned two reasons. At present, my vote is with pure local talent only.... specially to also purge the system of the irregularities in my system. Thank you for reading and hope you publish it too!
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Aug 02, 2019 06:46pm
Should not be allowed? Are you freaking kidding me
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Aug 02, 2019 06:48pm
Never. They will have never interest of Pak in their heart. This is big mistake
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Aug 02, 2019 06:49pm
Dual Nationality is a legal advantage to a person, awarded to him/ her if he/ she qualifies certain conditions. But the first Nationality remains his/ her birth right. Pak always got great remittances from dual nationals, if they are bad, refuse their remittances, but that never happened. The voting right is their birth right, that can never be usurped.
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Aug 02, 2019 06:50pm
So if a Pakistani is Indian Citizen also will we allow him to contest the elections?
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Aug 02, 2019 06:51pm
Yes, yes and yes. Overseas Pakistanis would add another element to our politics and life in general which currently doesn't exist. No bribes and no nepotism. These two things have destroyed our country and its culture.
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Rashid Khan the Afghan
Aug 02, 2019 06:54pm
A totally insane idea. Ishaque Dar a good example of what does go wrong.
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Aug 02, 2019 07:01pm
Overseas Pakistanis when they don't have a job can come and enjoy Govt royalty before going back with loads of money...
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nazir Ahmed
Aug 02, 2019 07:03pm
the question is loyalty of a dual citizen. at the time of accepting an alternate citizenship what has he to sign and take oath. is it that any country will have the same foreign policy as required by us. a dual citizen will be coerced to pass certain information which is to be held back by lawmakers. I should not question their love for this country but not to put them to test.
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aslam khan
Aug 02, 2019 07:12pm
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Syed A. Mateen
Aug 02, 2019 07:22pm
A person takes citizenship of another country when he is not satisfied with working conditions of his own country, otherwise, there is no need for any person to take citizenship of another country. The issue of dual nationals that they should also be considered as “pure Pakistanis” to contest elections is to justify overseas Pakistanis that they are not being ignored as considerable foreign exchange is been sent by overseas Pakistanis. Politics is full time job and I will not be wrong in saying that politics is also a full time business for political leaders as well as for political workers. Politicians who are seen sitting in front of cameras of various TV channels are not bothered for their lively hood as how will they meet the end needs and have no issue in running their kitchens. Pakistani settle abroad won’t be able to give time to politics in Pakistani as whatever they are doing abroad won’t be able to do and earn in the same manner in Pakistan so why should they come back?
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Aug 02, 2019 07:48pm
Write says "Dual citizenship can potentially create multiple loyalties. However, when someone has to make a choice, he/she can also prioritise one’s country of birth, present residence and high-level political involvement over the country where one is merely a naturalised, non-resident or ordinary citizen." With this logic one can argue that even non-citizens should be allowed to contest elections (because citizens can prioritise other countries). In my opinion dual citizens should be barred from any elections. Many countries, for example Japan, provide safe havens to their citizens from foreign prosecution. A dual Japanese-Pakistani citizen can happily run away to Japan and claim protection under Japanese law.
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Aug 02, 2019 07:50pm
Why create a second class MNA not eligable to become PM, Minister of Interior, Minister of Defence,etc.etc. Allow them to take part in election with out revoking citizenship of other country how ever if they win then oath taking must be subject to revocation of other Nationality/Residence.
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Adnan Bashir
Aug 02, 2019 07:55pm
No .A big no.
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Aug 02, 2019 07:56pm
Should Pakistan allow dual citizens to contest elections? Absolutely not!
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Aug 02, 2019 07:57pm
No. People who have dual nationalities should not be allowed to be part of our political system because they do not have any vested interest in our country having opted for other nationalities as their backup plans. You need to be fully vested in Pakistan
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Fiazul chauhan
Aug 02, 2019 08:04pm
You are demanding human right on the premises of infringing upon the human right of another individual i.e the local person of that country. Being foreign educated and residence of a foreign country , he/ she will always come out to be better qualified than the local bred, educated and locally employed. Hence he will be robbed of representing his own country. Motion - rejected on human rights basis.
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Junaid Imran Mahmood
Aug 02, 2019 08:06pm
Yes absolutely, dual nationals should contest elections as you will attract all high caliber of candidate. However to take office the second nationality must be given up and only a Pakistani nationality held. This is how it works the world over.
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baqai, Manzar Ali
Aug 02, 2019 08:07pm
Dual nationality people should not be allowed to contest election in Pakistan.
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Aug 02, 2019 08:08pm
Not only we should allow it to happen, I believe it should be encouraged.
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Shahid khawaja
Aug 02, 2019 08:14pm
Imran Khan and PTI always opposed to people with dual nationality hold any government position. Now another U turn a shameless decision by PTI now to go against thier own position. It is very risky to allow dual Nationals to hold government positions and supreme Court should take notice.
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Enlightened One
Aug 02, 2019 08:16pm
If you go overseas begging your diaspora to support their home country, asking for financial support, investments, reverse brain-drain, etc., then you have an obligation to meet them at least part of the way by allowing them to be full citizens and participating in the political system as well. This is how you strengthen your ties with the overseas diaspora by making them feel valued, constantly engaging them, creating events where they can share their thoughts and feelings, and encourage their engagement with their home country. They must be made to feel that they have a stake and a contribution in their home country's future. They can be a very valuable mouthpiece of their home country's policies and views if engaged properly! Just like how Indian overseas diaspora champion India's interests everywhere they are and protect India's interests and image overseas, same way, Pakistan should also cultivate their overseas assets and encourage them to strengthen their ties this way.
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Jamal USA
Aug 02, 2019 08:31pm
Absolutely Not! Please read the US Citizenship Application Form.
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Aug 02, 2019 08:43pm
Yes there is. When you take the US citizenship, you take an oath that you will uphold the constitution of the US and interests foremost. A person cannot serve two masters. Who will serve us better. A person who will suffer with us or one who has a home ready abroad? Think!
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M Majid
Aug 02, 2019 08:44pm
Pakistan should never allow dual citizens to be part of the parliament. Doing so may risk national security and may harm the country. Those who are sincerely interested to serve this nation by being a representative of the citizens will for sure prefer parliament over dual nationality.
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Muqarrab Qayyum
Aug 02, 2019 08:47pm
Never never never I respect all dual national Pakistanis. They are sincere to the nation. But there could be some people prepared by foreign countries agencies to get in our system. Obviously our agencies cant keep full eyes on the people who are living abroad. My all family is dual national, still i won't like to allow duals to take part in elections or posted on sensitive high posts. As a citizen im also worry about some dual nationals who are in parliament or governor houses.
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M. Saeed
Aug 02, 2019 08:57pm
A person cannot be loyal to two entities at the same time.
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Aug 02, 2019 09:03pm
Of course, hawala is not good.
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Rashid Ali
Aug 02, 2019 09:28pm
another important fact is that of the two states ,person will always favor his motherland. our dual standard is that we own successful personnel in foreign countries even if they have little for Pakistan
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Aug 02, 2019 09:32pm
Strongly oppose dual nationality holders contesting elections and then occupy public positions. IK got excited from public meeting organised by oversees countrymen living in USA. People rightly project him an emotional person. Why to pick up non issue that is already taken care of in the constitution. If you want to seriously help Pakistani expatriates, provide them condusive economic conditions and rule of law so that they can invest here and pay frequent visits.
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Aug 02, 2019 09:33pm
All candidates for election must have 5 years of residency and income tax returns. Posts of President, Prime minister, Foreign minister, Defence minister , Finance minister should be banned. In the USA President can only be a born American. So limitations are in place in other democracies.
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Aug 02, 2019 09:33pm
No....Never ever should dual nationals be allowed to be in the government
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Aug 02, 2019 09:44pm
Yes, so they can elope easily after stealing
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Syed Amir
Aug 02, 2019 09:50pm
Apart from liberal logic, the reality is that the ruling elite send their children to private schools, get treated in private hospitals (or abroad), live in cantonments or gated communities, spend vacations abroad and probably live the life of retirement abroad. They have developed an elaborate system of privileges within Pakistan and outside and they care least what happens to government institutions. The human rights argument might look fancy here, but living a life of ordinary Pakistani is not.
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Aug 02, 2019 09:51pm
One of the ways to stop brain drain of the country.
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Aug 02, 2019 09:58pm
No, don't open the pandora box.
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Jalaluddin S. Hussain
Aug 02, 2019 10:01pm
I fully agree with the views of learned writer Dr. Niaz Murtaza. As well-informed Pakistanis and reasonably educated overseas Pakistanis they should be allowed to vote for all levels of elections in the country.
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sialkoti malibu
Aug 02, 2019 10:07pm
No Taxes No no...
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Aug 02, 2019 10:13pm
Sorry, it's not Pakistan but the dual citizens deprived themselves of this basic right by deciding to migrate. You cant ride in two boats at the same time. Peoples representative is to be from them and fully dedicated. It's not a quick 'make rich scheme' anymore.
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Aug 02, 2019 10:16pm
Also to add few eg- Quaid -e -azam could have stayed in his Bombay home even after Pakistan became reality, liyaquat Ali khan never allowed a individual in as a government employee or even in cabinet who could possibly have left Pakistan for India in difficult times after partition and not to forget the premier was a ( nawab) and left huge property for the sake of this nation.. Dual citizens and those living or born abroad have/ has done a great job in every field and surely most of them love their ancestral home and their contribution is no less but still only Pakistanis with single citizen should be allowed a government job ..
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Aug 02, 2019 10:21pm
No . Unless , of course, if they renounce their foreign nationality .
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Aug 02, 2019 10:26pm
Yes indeed, if you want someone who is ready to jump ship when things go bad. He/she has already made his/her choice the moment the second nationality was taken.
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Rahil Kidwai
Aug 02, 2019 10:37pm
Dual Citizen should NOT be allowed to contest elections as there is no way to guarantee their partiality. Pakistani expats living abroad but holding only Pakistani Passport should be allowed. Dual citizens can always serve Pakistan in many other ways.
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Aug 02, 2019 10:43pm
The question is not about being 'treasonous'. The point is that when a Pakistani leaves behind his loved ones for greener pastures abroad, it is either to improve his qualification, or the quality of life. He does this out of sheer desperation. Once settled, he weighs the options and acquire foreign nationality.How can such a person be loyal to two nations howsoever pious, honest, patriot or faithful he be, logically it’s not in human nature. There is likelihood of a conflict of interest at some point in time. why doesn't that person assimilate himself in the newly adopted country? As far as I understand the west provides equal opportunities to everyone without any discrimination. Why doesn't he try his hand in the adopted country? recent example set by a former Somali refugee national, who has become member of the congress in USA. What attraction do the dual national of Pakistan origin have other than having the advantage of being bracketed in the elite class?
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Aug 02, 2019 10:50pm
Yes why not? Overseas Pakistanis are the most patriotic Pakistanis you will ever see. They love Pakistan.
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Aug 02, 2019 10:50pm
I am a US/Pak Citizen, still don't support expats to take part in election, conflict of two countries interests, whereas US law requires all citizens to be faithful to American flags under the oath...It could cause legal ,political, social issues ...
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Tanweer Aslam
Aug 02, 2019 10:56pm
Yes, Reverse the Brain Drain; Exploit the technical and tactical experience of the expatriates.
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Tanvir Aslam
Aug 02, 2019 10:57pm
Profile change
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Asghar Ali
Aug 02, 2019 11:35pm
The law as laid down in parliament should be followed but unfortunately the higher judiciary do not subscribe to this! The law is very clear. Since 1972 Pakistan allows its nationals to acquire secondary citizenship from U.K. (under section 14[3]). Further, permitted dual citizenship is protected as to political representation by insertion of comma ( , ) in article 63-1-C in the Pakistan Constitution of 1973. It’s ignorance of ECP which has caused confusion in the minds of Supreme Court judges, in Const. Petition 05/2012 Syed Mahmood Akhter Naqvi Vs. ECP Lastly, NICOP is granted to Pakistani citizens only, while POC is granted to non citizens nationals of Pakistan! The voting rights are only for citizens & no national of Pakistan can become representatives unless he is citizen of Pakistan!
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Aug 02, 2019 11:47pm
If dual citizens can contest elections, why should they deprived from voting rights?
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British Pakistani
Aug 02, 2019 11:57pm
How else are they supposed to run away with the looted money
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Arshad Patel
Aug 03, 2019 12:37am
What a Dual national will do if he wins in election: will stay in Pakistan as long as he holds the post, live a posh life which he could never afford in 'another' country where he is a citizen. Once he finishes his term and don't get elected, he will leave Pakistan until next election. To allow Dual nationals to run for an office, will stop genuine Pakistani to become a legitimate contender of any post !
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Aug 03, 2019 01:28am
One cannot be loyal to two countries at the same time. Pakistani dual citizens should contest elections in the country they have chosen to live in, if they are so interested in politics.
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Adil Ahmed
Aug 03, 2019 01:32am
A lot of people give examples of US and European countries and their system to point out flaws in Pakistan"s current state of affairs which is fair and logical. But in the current instance laws in US and EU countries are not used as a reference. Actually dual nationality is a farce and any sane person cannot be loyal to counties simultaneously. US,EU and even India forbid dual nationality. This is another u-turn of Imran Khan and snacks of political expediency.
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Aug 03, 2019 01:41am
I am a dual national and hold both Canadian and Pakistani citizenship. Canada does not bar me from contesting elections just because I have ties with Pakistan. Likewise U.S. does not prevent its dual Pakistani citizens from contesting elections. Why does then Pakistan have this weird policy?
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Sheikh Waqar ul Hassan
Aug 03, 2019 01:56am
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Aug 03, 2019 02:07am
Many countries do not permit dual citizens to be members of parliament - like Australia Why should Pakistan - specially when there could be conflict of interest
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Aamer Sharif
Aug 03, 2019 03:25am
We contribute a lot for the development of Motherland, we don’t steal nation’s wealth but bring in to make country stronger and prosperous. Any question? Why we are entitled to Context?
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Aug 03, 2019 03:39am
No. Those who hold dual citizenships have allegiance to two different sovereign countries. In cases or situations where support is required in interest of one country against another such citizens would not be able to make valid decisions. India does not allow its former nationals to hold dual citizenship as per the constitution.
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Aug 03, 2019 03:49am
NOT AT ALL . Duel nationality is the root of money laundering . IF you want to make Pakistan a better place by running for office then it should be good enough for you not to have to go to another country to better your self .
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Yaqoot Mir
Aug 03, 2019 03:50am
As a dual citizen myself I think we should be allowed to vote but not allowed to hold public office.
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Aug 03, 2019 03:56am
It is a good article, that explained the pros and cons of allowing dual citizens running in the elections. The author missed one important advantage of allowing dual citizens the roll to get involved in Pakistan's system. The dual citizens, after living and working in advanced and successful systems of foreign countries can contribute a lot to improve the Pakistani system.
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Baba G
Aug 03, 2019 04:15am
Most countries have oaths in their citizenships hence the loyalty of the person is contradicted and that is the logical reason why they are not allowed to run for parliament, if you want to serve your country then make a little sacrifice, otherwise each and evry single person in the parliament will be English or US national, and they will spend most of their time in those countries.
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Aug 03, 2019 05:11am
While your premise is logical, it does not make sense to allow dual citizens to run the affairs of a country without implementing a robust system of check and balance, and accountability. While naturalized citizens of most countries obtain full rights to participate in their new country and obtain a passport for international travel, there is one benefit of citizenship they often lack: the right to run for elected office — more specifically, the right to be a head of state. Opposite needs to follow the same principle. I am one of them and I am perfectly ok to relinquish my right to run for office in Pakistan for the reason that I have made another country my adopted home. Its the right thing to do, especially if you respect your motherland and respect her native citizens.
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Asghar Ali
Aug 03, 2019 05:43am
The laws of Pakistan do not bar Pakistani nationals with permitted dual citizenship to nominations as a candidate in any parliamentary elections! Theses laws are contained in the Pakistan Citizenship Act (section 14) and article 62 & 63 of the Pakistan Constitution. The Election Commission of Pakistan is entrusted to carry out free and fair elections in the country. It’s failiour of this organ to correctly apply the law that has violated the fundamental rights of Pakistani nationals with secondary citizenship from permitted States. It’s failiour to protect dual citizens fundamental rights as equal citizen while residing within Pakistan has led to discrimination against law abiding permitted dual citizens.
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abdul w qureshi
Aug 03, 2019 05:43am
my comment on senete election .the two old major parties are respponsible for economic and political bankcrupsy of pakistan .the exchange rate went from $60 rupees to $150 .this was the result of charter of democracy .it essential the other powerfull group bring a honest politician to overcome the political hurdle . you can see how they elect senators .the young generation can play an important role in educating the future voters .
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Aug 03, 2019 05:49am
No and never. If it was wrong for pmln, ppp, then it should not be allowed for pti
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Aug 03, 2019 05:59am
Quite a strange article. Pakistan does NOT even allow her non-Muslim citizens to contest elections for PM or president post. But the author priority seems to be Muslims who have dual citizenship. Blatant hypocrisy, I would say!
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Dr. Farooq Siddiqui
Aug 03, 2019 06:02am
NO Only Pakistan nationals and those having no other current permanent or temporary residency should be able to run for an elected office in Pakistan due to possibility, otherwise, of avoidance to tax and legal regimes in the past and in future as well as shared affiliations.
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Aug 03, 2019 07:14am
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Aug 03, 2019 08:14am
A person with dual-nationality has dual/split loyalty. CANNOT be elected or appointed to any office where national 'security' matters may be discussed. Australia has it right. And possibly many other countries,
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S Zafar Iqbal
Aug 03, 2019 09:07am
A definite NO! Don't we have enough Pakistanis at home to import rulers from abroad? Those Pakistanis who have freely chosen to pledge allegiance to a foreign power/jurisdiction, have given up their natural right to participate in the governance of their former homeland. Such dual-nation citizens have dual loyalties. They are the last people to be allowed to be in an official position to make decisions for Pakistan. Pakistan must be ruled by Pakistanis alone. If they are so much interested in participating in Pakistan's politics they should demonstrated their allegiance to Pakistan by giving up their acquired citizenship. Let Pakistanis rule Pakistan.
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Salman Husain
Aug 03, 2019 10:17am
What nonsense. How can one be objective if holding a foreign passport. You answering your own question if it hasnt stopped corrupt to run away even without having dual citizenship why make it easier. The current crop of corrupt politicians kids are all dual nationals. This country is not ready for democracy and now you are destroying the one ray of hope this country has by allowing the dynasties to not secure a hold in the upcoming elections. Who do you think will win if it comes down to some waderas dual national kid who lives abroad all his life or a hardworking dual national with all the good intentions? The kids wont be living here to begin with keeping the ineligible lot firmly in control of events here. First raise the literacy rate, get law and order, get taxes and then give examples of developed countries. Allowing dual nationals to contest after they surrender their citizenship is even bigger idiocy. If they surrender their citizenship then how will they be dual nationals?
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Aug 03, 2019 10:35am
@Pervez, An Indian Citizen can’t be a Pakistani Citizen.
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Aug 03, 2019 11:32am
Rational case made indeed. The problem is that the culture based on misplaced emotionalism in Pakistan rejects rational thoughts to pakistan’s detriment. The countries which adopt rational and pragmatic approach have benefited and prospered. PM Khan has an enlightened vision which should guide Pakistanis in the 21st century
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Aug 03, 2019 12:43pm
Pakistan is a funny country. Allowing non resident Pakistanis to govern Pakistan. Lol. Too funny. Cannot be even imagined not contemplated in any other “nation” and in Pakistan it is going to happen.
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Tariq Raza
Aug 03, 2019 01:24pm
@Huma, but have chosen to live elsewhere. tough love?
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Ali Khan
Aug 03, 2019 02:13pm
NO they should not be allowed. This will promote the culture of running away to other countries in case they do something bad in Pakistan (which is already happening by the way). So, a big NO. Stay in Pakistan, have assets in Pakistan and then govern Pakistan.
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Aug 03, 2019 02:20pm
No no doesn’t make sense . Only Pakistanis should be allowed to hold public office
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Aug 03, 2019 03:17pm
Dual citizens should be prohibited from writing in local newspapers as well.
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Aug 03, 2019 03:50pm
@Khalid, How can you be so sure that the overseas Pakistan's would not indulge in bribe and corruption,?
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Aug 03, 2019 07:17pm
Unfortunately, nobody was able to reject the logical argument put up by the Niaz Murtaza in his article. Saying ‘NO’ is not enough, we must present some facts to counter his opinion. There is no proof that any dual citizen had done harm to Pakistan. The previous government run by politicians and other groups had caused so much instability and put Pakistan at great risk. These people are not dual citizens.
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Aug 03, 2019 10:32pm
Dual citizenship is global citizenship. Loyalty to none but the mighty, there should be no soft corner for imposters Dual citizens should be kept at a safe distance from Law making for the imposters they are
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Aug 03, 2019 11:53pm
@Parvez, This is a follow up on my first comment : Allow me to give you just one example of what I have said. Remember Mr. Ishratul Ebad Governor of Sindh for 18 long years. It was no secret that he was a British subject ...... once his Governorship went he left the country and word has it he's living the good life in Dubai. You can draw your own conclusions.
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