A day after the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) announced its support for lawmakers having dual nationality, the Awami National Party (ANP) threw its weight behind the Supreme Court.
“Dual nationality of lawmakers is a threat to national security,” said Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel of the ANP, while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday.
He added that if dual nationality holders were eligible to be part of the national political process, then people like Mansoor Ijaz would be at the helm of affairs in Pakistan.
He was referring to the American businessman of Pakistani origin who created quite a stir in Pakistan with his infamous ‘Memogate scandal’.
“National secrets will no longer remain secrets,” he cautioned, while asking the government to heed his words before taking a decision on the issue. The government is planning to introduce a fresh law to protect dual national lawmakers.
“If the government does not pay heed to our concerns, we will chalk out our line of action against any such move,” added Haji Adeel.
“It seems the government is doing this merely to appease MQM chief Altaf Hussain,” he said while recalling several rounds of secret talks between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the MQM over the controversial Sindh local government ordinance (SLGO).
The ANP has already pulled out of the ruling coalition in Sindh in protest against the SLGO.
Asked if the government attempted to convince the ANP over the dual nationality bill, Haji Adeel said his party has made it clear that it would not accept dual nationality holders as lawmakers.
MQM’s deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar said on Friday that barring dual nationality holders from becoming part of national politics was not good for the country’s economy.
He added that overseas Pakistanis were playing a major role in strengthening national economy through foreign exchange – and barring them from becoming part of Pakistan’s democratic system could badly discourage them.
The ruling PPP seems to be leaning towards the MQM views, irrespective of the fact that some of its prominent leaders like Senator Raza Rabbani and Senator Aitzaz Ahsan oppose legislation for the protection of lawmakers holding dual citizenship.
In addition, the PML-N and ANP staged a walkout in protest against the bill in the Senate.
On September 20, the Supreme Court had asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to acquire fresh oaths from all legislators after it disqualified 11 of them for holding dual nationality. However, both the National Assembly and Senate refused to comply with the court orders.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2012.