ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has urged the federal government to take action against the officials who acquired foreign nationalities during their service, asking it to give such officials a deadline to either rescind their foreign nationalities or resign from service immediately.
“This is intended to send a strong signal to all officials…that they must not deceive Pakistan by breaking the trust that they have been bestowed upon by virtue of their office,” said a three-judge SC bench in its 52-page verdict in a suo motu case regarding dual nationality of government servants.
The bench, headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, in its order noted that necessary rules and regulations in this regard may be made by the federal and provincial governments, preferably in conjunction with each other.
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The CJP, who authored the verdict, made three categories of officials. These include dual nationals; those who are not Pakistani citizens but may be of Pakistani origin only and those whose spouses are either dual nationals or foreigners. “Presently, 1,116 officials and 1,249 spouses are dual nationals while 24 foreign nationals are working in various government departments.”
The title of the case was ‘Dual Nationality of Hon'ble Judges and Officials of Courts and Government Officials’.
The verdict said: The acquisition of foreign nationalities and permanent residence permits by citizens during employment in the government service… indicates, prima facie, and indeed in many cases, an intention to securely dispatch ill-gotten gains procured during service and to relocate their families and/or themselves during service and/or after retirement. Such individuals deserve no leniency.
It said the federal and provincial governments should develop criteria and standard operating procedures requiring disclosure of the intent to seek such foreign nationalities and permanent residence permits and adopt methods to check such instances and enforce penalties for nondisclosure.
“Such criteria and standard operating procedures could possibly be incorporated into the existing efficiency and discipline rules/regulations etc, by way of amendment or be adopted independently.”
As far as dual nationals are concerned, the judgment said they fall within the definition of citizens.
“It is for the federal and provincial governments to consider whether they should formulate negative list(s) of posts within the government service to which citizens holding dual nationalities or whose spouses are dual nationals, should not normally be appointed for reasons of safeguarding national security and/or vital national interest, except with the permission of the respective Cabinets.
“To place before the parliament and the respective provincial assemblies at the end of each financial year list(s) of government servants who are dual nationals and/or married to dual nationals, and the posts held by them.
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“To formulate negative list(s) of posts within autonomous/semi-autonomous statutory bodies/organisations … which are owned/controlled/governed by the federal and/or provincial governments, to which citizens holding dual nationalities or whose spouses are dual nationals, should not normally be appointed for reasons of safeguarding national security and/or vital national interest, except with the permission of the respective organisation or parent department.
“To place before the respective organisations or parent departments at the end of each financial year list(s) of employees of autonomous/semi-autonomous statutory bodies/organisations and companies, which are owned/controlled/governed by the federal and/or provincial governments who are dual nationals and/or married to dual nationals, and the posts held by them,” it said.