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Dual nationality question

July 23, 2012

THIS refers to Mr F. Hasan’s letter ‘Dual nationality’ (July 14). The writer has pinpointed some critical issues that need to be addressed if Pakistani citizens holding dual nationality are allowed to take part in the forthcoming elections for holding public offices.

The most important question is: how is it possible for a person to be loyal to two countries, particularly if one has political rights or works in government jobs?

One fails to understand why the government is wasting its efforts and time on safeguarding the interest of a few instead of concentrating on national priorities.

Some countries which do allow dual citizenship are the United States, Canada, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

But of late they have become uncomfortable with the idea. On the other hand, many countries like China, India, the Philippines, Germany, Japan, and South Korea forbid dual citizenship.

These countries would cancel native citizenship if their citizens acquired citizenship of another country. The Indian constitution does not allow dual citizenship. India decided to grant overseas citizenship of India (OCI) to a certain category that migrated from India and acquired citizenship of a foreign country other than Pakistan and Bangladesh.

If you get the OCI, it is not the same as being a regular Indian citizen and you do not get an Indian passport or voting rights. One cannot be a candidate for parliament or state assemblies or hold constitutional posts such as president, vice-president, and judge of the Supreme Court/high court, etc. One also cannot have a government job.

A dual passport-holder enjoys many financial benefits. He can essentially live, work, and travel freely within his native and naturalised countries. Some dual citizens also enjoy the privilege of voting in both countries, owning property, running business ventures in both countries, having government healthcare in both countries and getting access to restricted areas.

It is argued that since citizens with dual nationality send remittances or make business investments in Pakistan, therefore, it is fair to reward them by allowing them to contest in elections in addition to their voting rights.

I would say that they are not helping to boost our economy but whatever profits they earn from Pakistan soil is transferred to their foreign bank accounts.

Thus they are transferring funds out of Pakistan and further exhausting our economy. The most serious consequences of such a decision is security, for all our sensitive secrets could be transferred outside Pakistan.

I appeal to the people of Pakistan to strongly raise their voice against such a move.