Dual nationality: Special Senate session likely to pass three amendments

Published: November 25, 2012

Amendments aim at allowing dual nationals to contest elections and barring them from govt service. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led coalition government is determined to pass three separate constitutional amendments: one aimed at allowing parliamentarians to hold dual nationality, and the others barring bureaucrats and judges from the same.

According to sources, the government will try its luck again soon after Ashura by calling a special Senate session to pass the 22nd, 23rd and 24th constitutional amendment acts.

The 22nd Constitutional Amendment Act seeks to amend Article 63 of the Constitution, which deals with the disqualification of Parliament members. If passed, the amendment would allow dual nationals to contest general elections and nullify recent Supreme Court orders to disqualify around a dozen dual national legislators.

The 23rd and 24th Constitutional Amendment Acts, proposed by the Awami National Party (ANP), aim at barring dual nationals from government service and being appointed to the country’s superior judiciary.

“A Senate session will be convened soon after 10th Muharram to pass the proposed amendments,” said presidential spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar, without providing an exact date for the special session. He maintained that the bills could not be passed in the previous sittings due to a shortage of just one vote, and the coalition hoped to secure the required majority in the next attempt.

Last week, the PPP and its coalition partners failed, twice, to pass two of the aforementioned amendments. The primary reason behind the failure was the absence of seven PPP and two ANP senators from the session, despite hectic efforts by the party leadership.

The PPP senators who did not turn up were Babar Awan, Faisal Raza Abidi, Sallaudin Dogar, Sahar Kamran Muddasir, Kamran Khan, Gulzar Ahmed Khan and his son Waqar Ahmed Khan.

According to sources privy to developments, President Asif Ali Zardari took serious notice of the matter and sought an immediate report. They added that the absent senators had personal reservations against the proposed amendments along with other party issues.

Babar refused to share any details on this matter with The Express Tribune, saying it was the party’s internal issue.

While talking to The Express Tribune, ANP Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel expressed optimism regarding the amendments. He claimed there was consensus among all coalition parties to pass the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act and was confident that all three amendments would be passed in the next session. He was unsure, however, of the bills’ fate in the National Assembly.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2012.

Reader Comments (15)

  • Falcon
    Nov 25, 2012 - 9:49AM

    I am getting sick of this drama. All the incumbents care about are stupid issues, which are of least significance to the masses. Terrorism, hunger, economy or anything else doesn’t matter.

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  • K B Kale
    Nov 25, 2012 - 10:49AM

    Why different yardsticks for Senators/MNAs, judges and bureaucrats? None of the above three categories should be allowed to have dual citizenship. They must be loyal only to Pakistan!

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Nov 25, 2012 - 11:49AM

    No dual national should be allowed to take part in the forthcoming elections as we need to protect the interest of Pakistan in the parliament and not of the foreign countries.

    We are not even prepared to learn from our neighboring country India where a dual national cannot become member of the Indian Parliament.

    Ironically speaking, most of our members of parliament are corrupt including the members sitting on the treasury benches and the government is also supporting the case of dual nationals so that these corrupt politicians should take away the illegally accumulated wealth outside the country once the sitting government will complete its tenure.

    The primary plus point for the dual nationals parliamentarians is they don’t have to acquire a fresh visa while taking the illegally accumulated wealth outside the country at the time of a fall of the government so that these dual national politicians should remain in exile and then come back and again fill the nomination forms to context the next elections.

    In my opinion, if the parliament will pass such a bill then the Supreme Court should take up the matter keeping in view of the national interest as to safe guard the interest of Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan.

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  • Kaashaan
    Nov 25, 2012 - 12:23PM

    yup, sure allow dual nationals to become our policy makers. Tomorrow they’ll make policies that are against our country because they’ve taken oaths to protect their 2nd country (US, UK etc) and have promised to pick up a gun to save those countries in time of need.

    Very nice way to shoot ourselves in the foot. Good job for selecting such a perfectly capable government :(

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  • True picture
    Nov 25, 2012 - 12:47PM

    even if dual nationals are not allowed there will still be pro-western politicians & not pro-Pakistanis !!! why? because majority of the upper class & some upper/middle class have their stakes in foreign countries, they come in Pakistan just to earn big bucks & then leave & buy homes abroad or send their kids abroad. Another scary trend going on these days is that parents leave Pakistan, have their kid/kids in US/Canada/UK so he/she can have citizenship & then comeback lol ! we as a nation are not loyal with this beautiful country, if you offer a citizenship then these so called anti-Americans will be the first one to get hold of it & run there! we have to sort out our problems by ourselves by changing our mindset, I feel saddened to see how this nation acts like.

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  • Raja
    Nov 25, 2012 - 1:18PM

    Why They need dual nationality? To run away at safe heaven, they are here to make money. I hope our people understand there loyality and should not vote them again. The Election Comission of Pakistan should tell people who are dual National and even if they pass the Bill we should teach them lesson by not voting them at all.

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  • Parvez
    Nov 25, 2012 - 2:30PM

    This just does not make sense.

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  • ishrat salim
    Nov 25, 2012 - 3:43PM

    @Falcon:

    Now you are talking…! u r absolutely right.Bill on terrorism is awaiting to be passed for the last 3 years, yet such frivolous issues take precedence ( they passed ” contempt law ” in 68 minutes – a world record )….which exposes, that these politicians / MPs have no value for human lives….only interested in their own personal problems….

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  • Faisal Memon
    Nov 25, 2012 - 4:51PM

    I wonder why ppl still get surprised by any such news. Do you still believe our politicians are loyal to Pak?

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  • Ajaz Haque
    Nov 26, 2012 - 5:15AM

    So, only the politicians can have dual nationality, but Government officials and judges cannot! How can we have one law for politicians and another for the rest of the population?

    Surely, this country is no animal farm. Don’t these politicians realize that they cannot hoodwink the country. Either all dual citizens should have no bar or they should be barred from holding any office political or other.

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  • PakShock
    Nov 26, 2012 - 8:11AM

    Nothing wrong with dual nationalities. If we need to improve our economy we need people who been to other countries and know how our economy can be improved by bringing foreign investor and foreign exchange, foreign and advanced ideas of healthcare, manufacturing, import and export methods, all sort of technical industries and advancements in such fields. Our ex-patriots in foreign countries are sending billions of dollars in desperately needed foreign exchange each month. We have foreign qualified professionals who help us get upper hand in foreign policy lands in a way that is best for Pakistan. India is ahead of us in that field. We are not an advanced country and we need all these brains. Beside that, it don’t need foreign passport to steal from the locals. As we speak, there are thousands local nationals who have foreign accounts and are robbing us one way or the other who rarely pay taxes or fees but borrow from banks and never return the money. I personally know people who manufacture ship-loads of products in Pakistan for their clients, or own shops and stores overseas. These peoples while creating thousands of job locally also bring foreign investments, technology and ideas for goods to be manufactured locally to export. Many or most manufacturers in major cities produce quality goods/stuff for them which they had no market to sell-to but only to export. Our educated students have not much use of their knowledge in our low-tech market but to sell their services overseas and bring home the income/salaries for settling down their family members through investments in local ventures for them. If you see city markets in Christmas and summer vacations, they are busy selling good for billions of dollars to the same visiting foreign ex-patriots. You can see after they leave the shops owners take vacations and go back to their hometowns, from Tailors, Dentists, Doctors, Wedding planners, Hotel owners, Restauranteurs, Cooks, tailors, jewelers, woodwork & metal work, also who make or sell glass, marble, crockery to these visitors. Producers of fabric, spices, dry-fruits, toys, Leather products, even beggars make whole year worth of money during foreign holidays, that they use in their hometowns. Only people who hate them are the one who are hateful, incompetent, uneducated, failed or jealous of anyone’s success. If our boat is still afloat it’s because of the foreign exchange that compensates for tax-cheats and low-quality or not-so-advance products to sell around the world.

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  • Nov 26, 2012 - 9:34AM

    This will be a disaster of untold proportions. Anything and everything for these useless and uneducated parliamentarians.

    WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR AND GIVEN TO THE COUNTRY? ZERO. The Constitution has become a mockery.

    Salams

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  • Nov 26, 2012 - 9:54AM

    How come these Pakistanis buying houses in Canada and the West by paying cash (houses worth 3 to 5 hundred thousand dollars). Of course when they get caught and then ran out of Pakistan and live in the West with their looted wealth. Pakistanis should not elect dual nationals as they are not loyal to none of the countries.

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  • KPK.GB.KHI
    Nov 27, 2012 - 6:18PM

    @Mikek:
    Pakistanis who are buying houses in Canada are those millions comming from middle east money they made there. They have all the right for kids education and Canada is more than willing to have these hard working people. A house is a need to start a business and family to start sending money to Pak, lot more than the price of house they bought on Canadian bank loans.

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  • Nov 27, 2012 - 7:30PM

    @KPK.GB.KHI:

    I was clearly reffering to Pakistanis from Pakistan bringing dollars in Canada. I have no objection for Pakistanis who have earned in middle east to bring the money in Canada.

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