THE knives are out for dual nationals sitting in the National Assembly because we have just realised that our constitution does not allow it.
It is also said that dual-nationals are all from the US, the UK and other non-Muslim western countries and hence they cannot be trusted inside our parliament.
The main apprehension against dual nationals is disloyalty.
The fact is that a Pakistani taxi driver or worker seeks a US or UK passport so that he can visit his family in Pakistan and return to his job without hindrance. Without a citizenship he would have to toil for a pittance in underground sweat-shops, continually hounded by immigration sleuths, with nothing to remit home to support his family.
Even prosperous doctors and entrepreneurs in the West have their hearts in Pakistan. They serve us passionately with very forceful Pakistani lobbies. If they did not care for Pakistan, they could easily give up their Pakistani nationality, but they don’t.
Dr Afia Siddiqui and Dr Fai are in US jails for a Pakistani cause.
Dr Abdus Salam put Pakistan’s name on the list of Noble laureates.
Dr Moin Qureshi was probably our best caretaker prime minister.
And without Dr A.Q. Khan, a naturalised resident of Holland, Pakistan would not be a nuclear power today. We trusted him with our ‘biggest’ national secret of all time.
Such fuss is made about the ‘oath of allegiance’ that dual nationals take in other countries. This oath is no different from ‘till death do us apart’ oaths that millions of ‘divorcees’ take in churches and marriage courts when they tie the knot: binding, yet mere formalities! There are many compelling reasons for our countrymen taking another nationality but disloyalty to Pakistan is definitely not one of them. When our worthy politicians declare war on the US, the UK, Canada and the rest of the western world, these expatriates will readily give up their other nationality.
But let’s not cross that bridge until we come to it.
With the belated awareness about dual nationals in the constitution no one can argue with the fact that dual nationals must not be members of our National Assembly but that does not mean that all dual nationals can be labelled as fifth columnists of some sort.
Many of our flag-carrying super-patriots rush to the UK or the US for a medical check-up at the first sign of a headache or some other urgent need for merriment, at government expense if possible.They curse and crib about the humiliation they suffer at immigration counters because of a Pakistani passport. They profess great contempt for dual-nationals but some of these worthies would give their right arm for a foreign passport and willingly dispense with their National Assembly seat in exchange. Either the political parties do not know enough about their representatives or the law-makers in parliamint are ignorant of the law. The question remains: how did dual nationals get elected to and kept sitting in our assemblies for years and years, in violation of the constitution?
CAPT S. AFAQ RIZVI Karachi