Private bill seeks to bar twin nationals from civil service

The proposed law also envisages removal of civil servant on attaining dual nationality.


Qamar Zaman/zia Khan December 21, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


In an attempt to amend the country’s bureaucratic landscape, a private bill aimed at shutting the doors of the country’s civil services on individuals possessing dual nationalities was introduced in the National Assembly on Tuesday.


The draft bill emerges a day after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) moved to enforce a law that bars dual national Pakistanis from becoming parliamentarians.

Moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Tasneem Siddiqui, the draft bill suggested those having nationality of any other country together with Pakistan’s must not be considered for recruitment in the civil services.

Titled Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill of 2011, the bill, however, did not explicitly mention whether the restriction would also be valid for those dual nationals wishing to join the military bureaucracy.

The bill also envisaged that any civil servant should immediately be removed if he/she possesses dual nationality.

The proposed law seeks to make it mandatory for all government departments to ascertain the nationality of those wishing to apply for a post in the civil services.

In what appears to be a harsh proposal, the bill calls for recovering salaries and benefits from all dual national officials from the day they acquire the citizenship of any other country.

In the statement of objects and reasons, the author of the bill explained: “Many a time it happens that the aspirants of civil services conceal information about their nationalities due to vested interests,” said Siddiqui

She maintained that in most cases the officials run away from Pakistan to the other country of citizenship after earning money through questionable practices and claimed the bill was aimed at barring corruption.

“No country can afford civil services which are not loyal to the Constitution and the country,” she wrote.

By leaving the country, the presenter of the bill added, the dual national civil servants often escape accountability.

Other bills

On the private member day, a generous government allowed members from both sides of the divide to introduce five more bills including one seeking enhanced punishment for dishonouring graves.

Moved by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s Justice (retd) Fakhar-us-Nisa Khokhar, the bill proposed 10 years imprisonment for defiling, damaging or digging graves or burial places.

There have been several incidents in the recent past where corpses were dishonoured by miscreants, sending a deep sense of fear and resentment across the society, wrote the author in the statement of objects and reasons.

Another PPP lawmaker Nasir Ali Shah proposed to fix a limit to the expenses a candidate should be allowed for contesting parliamentary elections in his bill.

PPP’s Yasmin Rehman suggested that special or disabled people serving in the government departments should not be transferred to far-flung areas to protect them from facing hardships.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2011.

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