Rejection of the writ petition by the SC regarding the reconstitution of Election Commission, filed by the Tahirul Qadri has once again sparked intense debate about the status of dual nationals in the country. The term of dual nationals should be distinguished from the foreign nationals and hence not be confused with each other. In fact, dual nationals are being treated as ‘national pariah’ under a policy of ‘Neo-Apartheid’ in Pakistan deliberately or otherwise. A national sentiment towards them gives the impression as if they are the root cause of all the political ailments of the country.

It should not be forgotten that most of the dual nationals are the natural citizens of Pakistan securing this status by birth. There is no justification whatsoever of depriving any natural citizen of its basic citizenship right guaranteed by the constitution. Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951 recognizes the right of dual nationality of its citizens regarding as many as 17 different countries of the world. Therefore, having once recognized by law, the status of dual nationals, they should also be given the full citizenship rights by allowing them to take part in the political life of the country. In Pakistan, Article 63 of the constitution barring the dual nationals from being members of Parliament, conflicts and contradicts the state’s official policy on the issue of dual nationality. It must be ratified by either changing the state policy or to amend the constitution to this effect.

Dr A Q Khan, the founder and chief architect of the nuclear program in the country, was also a dual national. Nobody dared to question his sincerity and doubted his patriotism nor denied his services to the county. Likewise, if the people like Sayeeda Warsi and Lord Nazir Ahmed, Lord Sarwar, despite being of Pakistani origin can secure important political positions in UK, then why not in Pakistan? Instead of complicating and over-sensitizing the issue of dual nationality, we should deal with it objectively by putting it in its true context and perspective. Doubting the patriotism and sincerity of the millions of expatriate Pakistanis is neither justifiable nor justified. Therefore, dual nationals should also be given their due.

MOHSIN RAZA MALIK,

Lahore, February 26.