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Dual nationality bill presented in Senate

Published Jul 10, 2012 09:51am

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A view of the Senate in Islamabad. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The 22nd amendment bill was presented in the Senate on Tuesday. The bill recommended abolishing  restrictions on dual nationals from contesting the elections, DawnNews reported.

One of the coalition partners in the government, the Awami National Party (ANP), has decided to oppose the bill.

Senator Raza Rabbani and prominent lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan have also reportedly shown reservations on the bill.

During Tuesday's session, federal law minister Farroq H. Naek presented the 22nd amendment bill in the Senate.

According to the bill, dual national Pakistanis of 16 countries would be allowed to assume public offices.

The law minister said that Pakistan had agreements with 16 countries over dual nationality.

The countries include Syria, Canada, Australia, Jordan, the Netherlands, Germany, United States, France, Britain and Iceland.

He said that Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution was unfair to Pakistanis residing in foreign countries.

Haji Adeel of the ANP questioned: “Why the 22nd amendment is being tabled before the 21st?” He said that his party would oppose these changes to the Constitution.

Naek said that the 21st amendment bill had been presented in the National assembly and that it was related to increment in the judges' pensions.

The bill has been submitted before the pertinent standing committee, the law minister said.

“The floor will open for debate,” Naek said, adding that “if anyone has reservations over it, they can suggest amendments in the bill”.

The PPP-led coalition government came up with the proposed bill in order to make lawmakers having dual nationality retain their parliament memberships as well as remain eligible to contest in the general elections as the Supreme Court disqualified some legislators including former minister Rehman Malik.