THE government has an agreement with 20 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and others, allowing citizens of Pakistan to hold their nationality while simultaneously being eligible for national identity card for overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) and the green passport.

However, once a Pakistani citizen takes an oath of citizenship of the US, or any other country, he/she is bound by that oath to obey the laws of that country and pledge undivided loyalty to his/her newly-adopted country and its constitution.

Recently, the government suspended the pension and perks of a former director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) after it had doubts about his interaction with his Indian counterpart. By the same logic, pensions and perks of all former, retired civil or uniformed officers who have renounced their previous loyalty to Pakistan when taking the oath of citizenship of another country should be suspended and withdrawn. After all, they do get welfare benefits from their adopted country.

When individuals take the oath of citizenship of any other country, they are required as per law to perform whatever the state considers to be in its national security interest. In the US, for instance, they have the Patriots Act which clearly makes it obligatory on individuals to uphold their pledge to the US constitution irrespective of their previous loyalty.

The US constitution debars any individual who has taken the oath of citizenship to pledge loyalty thereafter to any other state, including the country of his/her origin. This means that a US national cannot pledge an oath of loyalty to any other country or its constitution.

The US constitution demands undivided loyalty, which every country must ensure if it wants to remain sovereign and independent. State sovereignty and national security interests are too sacrosanct and must be given due weight when considering cases pertaining to any matter related to individuals having taken oath of loyalty to any other state.

Ali M. Tariq

Lahore

Published in Dawn, March 7th, 2021

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