MQM cautions against barring dual nationals from politics

Published: October 6, 2012
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Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar addressing a press conference. PHOTO: NNI

Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar addressing a press conference. PHOTO: NNI

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad’s Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM’s) deputy convener, Dr Farooq Sattar, said on Friday that barring dual nationality holders from becoming part of the political process was not good for the country’s economy and the country in general.

“Overseas Pakistanis are playing their role in strengthening Pakistan’s economy through the foreign exchange they are sending to Pakistan. Legislation barring them from becoming part of Pakistan’s democratic system could badly discourage them. Pakistan should not pay them back in such a way,” he remarked.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad to highlight his party’s policy regarding proposed legislation against dual nationality holders‚ Sattar said doubts were being created regarding the nationalism and loyalties of overseas Pakistanis holding dual nationality.

The minister also said that parliament should deliberate and produce positive legislation on the dual nationality issue because overseas Pakistanis have rendered extraordinary services for the development of the country and for democracy, adding that there should be an amendment in the Constitution on the matter.

He explained that foreign remittances and investment in the country by overseas Pakistanis play a vital role in alleviating the country’s economic problems.

“Being a minister for overseas Pakistanis, it was my duty to take measures for their welfare but now I’ll fight for their rights to be protected from such unwise legislation,” the MQM leader said.

Responding to a question, he said that this type of legislation doesn’t exist anywhere in the world, and instead, most countries encourage their citizens to take part in indigenous and foreign democratic systems. He added that the situation in Pakistan was the reverse, deeming it “quite unfortunate”.

The minister also said he has recently returned from the United States where he met members of the Pakistani community, their organisations and business entrepreneurs. He said overseas Pakistanis and those holding dual nationality are promoting a soft image of Pakistan across the world and are very concerned over the Supreme Court’s verdict on the issue.

Citing Article 63 (1) (c) of the Constitution regarding dual nationality, Sattar said that the lines “he ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan or acquire the citizenship of a foreign state” were narrowly interpreted by the courts as the intention of this clause is to acquire the citizenship of a foreign state by giving up the citizenship of Pakistan which is not the case with dual national Pakistanis.  He added that this was confirmed by the declaration of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which allowed dual national Pakistanis the right to vote and considered them citizens of the country until now.

The minister also cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which states, “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his/her country…”

He went on to say that overseas Pakistanis holding dual nationality claim Pakistan as their country, and Pakistan also considers them to be citizens since they hold a National Identity Card, Pakistani Passport and the right to vote in the general elections. Therefore, he stated, they have the right to be parliamentarians in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • khalid
    Oct 6, 2012 - 12:04PM

    MQM on this isuue makes no sence specially when there leader holds dual nationailty, yes the oversea pakistanis like me contribute to our economy and do mainly from UAE, Saudia and other Gulf states and these countries do not give nationalities and this group of pakistanis do not hold dual nationalites, the other group holding dual nationalities belong to UK, USA, Canada have sworn allegeance to these countries, have taken enormous amount of wealth out of pakistan and want to continue doing this, most of our parlimentarians belong to this category,how can you allow these individuals to hold public office, please do not destroy the integrity of Pakistan and being a Pakistani, please do not say that this will upset oversea pakistani and economy of our country….

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  • Imran
    Oct 6, 2012 - 12:47PM

    Thank you MQM !!

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  • Supersequel
    Oct 6, 2012 - 1:11PM

    Maybe after few generations, but right now most expats are vital for us

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  • annonymous
    Oct 6, 2012 - 2:45PM

    Overseas Pakistanis are sending remittances to their relatives to sustain their poverty.Recommend

  • Bilal Tariq
    Oct 6, 2012 - 3:25PM

    Such dual nationality holders does not represent even 0.001% of all the overseas Pakistanis and furthermore are surely involved in getting the capital out of this country rather bringing foreign exchange.. Recommend

  • A Khan
    Oct 6, 2012 - 5:53PM

    Utter nonsense! Dual nationals should not be permitted to become MPAs and MNAs.

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  • Javed
    Oct 6, 2012 - 7:45PM

    It appears dual national politicians are greatly concerned about human rights and democratic values in Pskistan. MQM representative is concerned about eviction of dual nationality holders from public offices in Pskistan. Such a move would put stop to looters to have protection of foreign governments and will ensure wealth of Pakistan remain with the country for the benefit of Pakistanis.
    Mr. Farooq knows very well that one day Pakistani people will demand that leaders of political parties should also hold Pakistani nationality,to ensure foreign influence on policy making is mitigated.
    God may protect Pskistan from dual national looters.
    Perhaps my country, UK, take the honourable decision to evict these foreign dual nationals to ensure people who have decided go live in the UK can live like the citizen of UK, rather than be distracted by the looters abroad.Recommend

  • Javed
    Oct 6, 2012 - 9:09PM

    Khalid’s comments are relevant and indeed revealing. Remittance argument is irrelevant and it is only to confuse people of Pakistan. Most dual nationality holders who participate in elections,
    hold public offices and loot Pakistani institutions do not remit any money. These so called ‘leaders’ only take money out of country.
    Please MQM, PPP MLN and others do not insult intelligence of population of Pakistani origin living overseas!

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  • Oct 7, 2012 - 12:27AM

    Most of these politician were unsuccessful in UK and USA. Cab drivers and gas Station clerk. now making their wealth and buying properties in USA. need to investigate their family members investment around the world. Don’t trust these tugs.

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  • Abdul
    Oct 7, 2012 - 8:17AM

    Probably Dr. Satar wont like to read this: One of the main duel nationality beneficiaries since 1947 were n are MQM members (having Indian, British n Pakistani nationality). Being minister of Overseas Pakistani’s it would be interesting if Dr. Satar publish total exact numbers (not names) under his ministry n than segregate provinces wise. Let people of Pakistan read facts which group is benefiting from this undeclare facility. Right of vote is one thing, holding political n ministries another. Dr. Satar needs to separate apple with oranges.

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  • Raza
    Oct 9, 2012 - 8:38PM

    Which member of NA or senate has ceased or given up Pakistani citizenship and acquired a foreign citizenship? If anyone of them has done that then their nomination papers should have been rejected prior to elections not after. The drama of dual citizenship is not invented, practiced and publicized by the ordinary people but the establishment. By offering dual citizenship and recognizing it has opened the doors for confusion. When a Muslim man can be fair, faithful and equal to four wives at the same time why one cannot respect the laws of both countries?
    What has election commission headed by top judges been doing since the first elections during gen Mush? Why would these judges wake up after hibernation of four long years? Why their nomination papers were not examined 5 years ago? How can these same judges who “qualified” these candidates now disqualify them after people’s verdict?
    Like my half a dozen posts of today (one of those days) I am sure this one is not going to be posted but I would keep on trying.Recommend

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