A growing number of countries are signing agreements with each other to allow their citizens to have dual citizenship. This new trend has been born out of migrant remittances, better work opportunities and human rights abuse—all of which force the people to migrate to other places so that they can begin a new life with higher hopes.

Pakistan is amongst this list of countries, since it has allowed its citizens to possess dual nationalities, but only with the 19 countries that have an agreement with Pakistan. Those in possession of the nationalities of countries outside of the exhaustive list have to renounce their citizenship if they want to be considered a Pakistani. Additionally, the constitution, through Article 63-1(C), explicitly bars dual national candidates from running for public office even if they have made generous contributions towards the state.

Recently, we witnessed resignations submitted by some Special Assistants to the Prime-Ministers (SAPM). They were trolled on social media by opposition parties for their dual nationalities. Subsequently, the SAPMs, on directives of PM Khan, were asked to release the details of their assets to the Cabinet Division’s website to support the transparency agenda of the government. In the past, the Supreme Court has disqualified parliamentarians of mainstream political parties for concealing their dual nationalities and asset details. However, Article 63-1(c) doesn’t legally bind non-elected members of the cabinet to disclose their asset information and provide details about their dual nationalities.

Dual national technical experts are usually appointed by the governments to provide technical assistance and expert advice which is beneficial in enhancing the quality of the governmental departments and providing solutions to never-ending problems. People like Tania Aidrus have years of international experience working with top organisations, where they have been heading high positions, and producing innovative products for the global market. Who else could be a better fit for digitising Pakistan, when we have brains like them? However, the potential concerns raised by the political parties, and general presumptions linked to swearing allegiance to another country can raise a conflict of interest posed by dual nationals, having their assets and dependents living abroad, and nothing at stake in Pakistan. These constraints bar resourceful, experienced, and dedicated individuals from joining public offices and re-flourishing our dwindled institutions.

In Pakistan, neither the government nor its citizens believe in addressing issues but they remain committed to uprooting people from their positions rather than coming up with a viable alternative. The government should encourage legislators to propose better laws on greater transparency and strengthening accountability for dual nationals. The legislatures could bring amendments to the constitution that bars elected, and non-elected, executive positions and foreign ministers from being dual citizens, and instead have them elected over ordinary parliament seats with limited authority and no access to national secrets.

Furthermore, evidence suggests that migration to another country, or having citizenship of a foreign country doesn’t break the ties with the country of origin to where an individual’s lineage could be traced back. Also, the emotional attachment and patriotism to a native country is an instinct one has for his or her country that shouldn’t have to be proven.

People argue that the American naturalisation process requires people to renounce their native country’s citizenship, but little do they know that the US inherited British colonial laws. In 1967, the United States allowed Pakistanis to have dual citizenship after a formal treaty was signed between Washington and Islamabad. This means that the immigrants could run for public offices despite their primary Pakistani nationality.

To have a more transparent system and ensure greater scrutiny to exist for dual national technocrats and special assistants to the cabinet, Pakistan should imitate the US’ Inland Revenue Service (IRS) laws, which is a government agency responsible for the tax collection, and its enforcement. It requires dual nationals of the US, and other countries to report to the IRS about their assets bought on the foreign land.

I don’t find any rationale for depriving dual citizens of their basic rights of holding public office. They are also a great source of contributing billions of dollars to the national exchequers in the form of remittances. People like Zulfiqar Bukhari have stimulated Pakistani diaspora to bring investments to the country and helped in promoting a positive image of Pakistan internationally. Also, with a surge in globalisation, more countries are joining the trend of allowing dual citizenship that isn’t only beneficial to them but also the country. Hence, Pakistan should also participate in this practice more prominently.