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Dual nationality: even peons, gardeners not spared

October 16, 2012

RAWALPINDI, Oct 15: After lawmakers, the dual nationality issue seems to be passing on to government servants.  

In a circular issued on Saturday, Punjab government asked government officers from District Management Group (DMG) to doctors, gardeners, peons and sanitary workers to submit declaration certificate that they do not hold dual nationality.

Though no reason has been cited in the letter, it is understood that the move is meant to discourage government officials from acquiring a dual nationality.

However, legal experts were of the view that the provincial government should check the dual nationality of government officers from BPS-17 to BPS-22 but there is no logic to check peon, gardeners and sanitary workers.

“Only Pakistani nationals should be appointed in public service and it will stop those officers who have dual nationality. But peons and gardeners dual nationality checking is a strange move,” said Advocate Sajid Ilyas Bhatti, Rawalpindi Bar Association President, while talking to Dawn.

He said: “If a lower grade government staff had dual nationality then he will have no reason to work in the country for a few rupees. So, the government should revise its notification to release the lower staff and apprehend politicians and bureaucrats”.

Soon after receiving the circular, the department heads started the process to collect the declaration certificates from the government employees from Basic Pay Scale (BPS-1 to BPS-20).

The officers belonging to District Management Group (DMG) also filed their declarations to the Services and General (S&G) department Lahore. “The provincial government has sought declaration from government officers and officials after the Supreme Court (SC) verdict to get the declaration from those who hold public office,” said a senior official of City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) requesting not to be named.

It may be mentioned here that SC led by Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on September 20 asked Election Commission of Pakistan to obtain fresh declarations on oath from the lawmakers regarding dual nationality.

A senior official of allied hospital not wanting to be named told Dawn that the hospital received a circular and it forced the lower staff of the hospital to go to district courts and spend some money to prepare the papers and submit the affidavit to the department.

The submission of certificates created unrest among the government employees especially low scale officials who termed it unnecessary. Some were of the view that it made further financial burden on them for doing nothing.

Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab Chairman Dr Mohammad Haroon said that the provincial government had asked doctors to submit their declarations about the nationality. “More than 80 per cent doctors had submitted the certificates. We condemn the futile exercise of checking the dual nationality of doctors and health staff as there was no need to spend time on this because the SC ordered to check oath declarations of lawmakers not for the whole nation,” he said.

“I had to spend Rs2,000 to prepare the affidavit from district courts to submit with the hospital administration. It is an additional burden on my pocket,” said Waqas Ahmed, a clerk at government hospital, while talking to Dawn.Tahir Masih, a sanitary worker, at DHQ Hospital, said that he also submitted the certificate that he was a Pakistani national. “I didn’t understand why they demanded such a certificate,” he said.

“Yes, we received orders from the health department Lahore to collect the data,” said Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) Principal Prof Dr Musadaq Khan, while talking to Dawn.

Punjab Government spokesman Pervaiz Rasheed said he was unaware of the circular issued by the government. When informed about the wordings of the circular, he said that such circulars were issued by the government as a matter of routine.