'What happened to made in Pakistan?': Opposition lambastes govt after revelations about assets, dual nationalities of aides

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According to Information Minister Shibli Faraz, the directives to make the information public were issued by the premier himself. — Photo courtesy Online/DawnNewsTV/ National Assembly website
According to Information Minister Shibli Faraz, the directives to make the information public were issued by the premier himself. — Photo courtesy Online/DawnNewsTV/ National Assembly website

The opposition on Sunday lambasted the government after it made public the details of assets and dual nationalities of 20 advisers and special assistants to the prime minister.

According to Information Minister Shibli Faraz, the directives to make the information public were issued by the premier himself.

According to the cabinet division’s notification, out of 19 non-elected cabinet members, four special assistants to the prime minister (SAPMs) hold dual nationalities, including SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar (US), SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari (United Kingdom), SAPM on Power Division Shahzad Qasim (US) and and SAPM on Digital Pakistan Tania S. Aidrus (Canada).

Among those holding residency of other countries are SAPM on Political Affairs Shahbaz Gill (United States), SAPM on National Security Moeed Yousuf (US), SAPM on Parliamentary Coordination Nadeem Afzal Gondal (Canada) and Aidrus (Singapore).

Reacting to the revelations, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman questioned how advisers and aides who sit in the federal cabinet can be dual nationals when members of parliament can not.

In a tweet, she said: "Imran Khan has repeatedly said he stands against government aides, advisers, ministers who swear an oath of allegiance to another country. What happened to #MadeinPakistan?"

In a statement, PPP Information Secretary Nafisa Shah said that the information about assets and dual nationalities of advisers and special assistants to the premier had opened a "Pandora's box".

"The selected prime minister has been exposed after the truth about his advisers has come to light. Half of the selected prime minister's cabinet, who himself used to make tall claims about dual nationalities, have been found to be dual nationals."

Shah also questioned what action is being taken against the cabinet members in light of the information released. "How can those that have [pledged] their allegiance to another country be expected to be sincere with Pakistan?"

Sindh government spokesperson Murataza Wahab called the presence of people with dual nationalities in the federal cabinet a "security risk".

In a statement, he said that those who envisioned "Naya Pakistan" called in consultants from abroad and included them in the federal cabinet. He maintained that the Constitution does not allow dual nationals to join the cabinet or become members of parliament.

Tweeting a video of the premier expressing his views on politicians and members of parliament holding dual nationalities, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said: "His hypocrisy is shameless as his duplicity is destroying a nation. All Imran Khan is missing is a flute."

In a separate statement, Aurangzeb demanded that the premier and his aides resign. "You [Imran] had said that it is not possible for ministers to have dual citizenship. You had said that if you have a passport from another country, you cannot sit in parliament.

"So why has the premier allowed those with dual nationalities to make decisions deciding the fate of the 22 million people in the country?"

Because of these foreign nationals, the people are facing unemployment, economic devastation and hunger, she said.