ISLAMABAD - The question of dual nationality of judges, personnel of armed forces and civil servants again echoed in the Senate when the Upper House resumed with Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari on Monday.
Since it was the private members day, the Senate overall carried out wide-ranging business that included passing of two resolutions, a bill and discussion on question of dual nationality of judges and civil servants, foreign policy, plea for revisiting of government’s narrative on drone attacks.
The House unanimously passed a resolution recommending the government to take immediate steps for construction of new water reservoirs in order to meet the shortage of water in the country.
The resolution was moved by Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi. The Chair said that he will send the report to the concerned division and seek a progress report in two months.
The Upper house also unanimously passed a resolution moved by Mian Razza Rabbani expressing grave concern and anxiety over the increasing incidents of rape‚ particularly of minor girls in Pakistan. The resolution strongly condemned these heinous acts‚ particularly the recent incident of rape of a minor girl in Lahore. It called upon civil society‚ intellectuals‚ Ulema and media to launch a social campaign against the perpetrators of this crime and urged the Federal and Provincial Governments to amend the law to provide severe punishment to those found guilty.
The Senate also unanimously passed “The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill‚ 2013”. The bill moved by Ilyas Ahmad Bilour provides to further amend the Civil Servants Act‚ 1973.
The House also adopted a motion for discussion moved by Haji Muhammad Adeel regarding the situation arising out of the non-shifting of headquarters of the State Bank of Pakistan from Karachi to Islamabad.
The House deferred a resolution regarding dual nationality of Judges of the superior judiciary moved by Farhatullah Babar‚ after Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid sought some time to get information from the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The Minister said he would also consult Ministry of Law as to which path will be adopted in this regard.
Senator Farhatullah Babar, while initiating discussion on the resolution, said that repeatedly questions were asked both in the Senate and the National Assembly about the identity of dual national judges if any but the law ministry did not give categorical replies, and it was merely stated that the law and the constitution did not bar dual nationals from becoming judges.
The evasive replies given to pointed questions repeatedly asked in the Parliament for the past over 16 months suggest that there may actually be judges with dual nationality but whose names are not being made public. Lately, the same evasive reply has also been given to a question asked in the national assembly last week, he said.
Farhatullah Babar said that Constitution disqualified a dual national from being a Member of the Parliament and a number of MPs have already been disqualified and even sent to jail for possessing dual nationality. He said that persons holding dual nationality are not eligible for appointment in the armed forces even though the Constitution and the law did not place such fetters.
Similarly, the law and the Constitution do not place any restrictions but under rules a candidate having dual nationality must surrender his or her nationality and inform the government before joining the civil services academy, he said. For the first time the Senate today passed a law placing some fetters on the promotion of dual nationals beyond grade 19 in civil services.
A dual national cannot join the armed forces and cannot join the civil service academy even if there is no legal restriction what is the rationale of allowing dual nationals to become judges of superior courts and why their names if any are not being made public, he asked? Senators Haji Adeel of ANP and Hafiz  Hamdullah of JUI(F) also supported the deferred resolution moved senator Babar.
Later, the House resumed discussion on the foreign policy of the government with particular reference to the visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to the United States‚ the repercussions of the expected reduction of forces in Afghanistan by the US/ISAF in 2014‚ offer of talks to the Taliban‚ drone attacks and NATO supply.
Taking part in the discussion‚ Farhatullah Babar pleaded that government should revisit its narrative on US drone attacks saying there should be greater clarity on drone attacks. He said drone is an effective weapon to take the militants out but its technology must be given to Pakistan and it must be operated under Pakistani flag. He also sought to be informed whether government was claiming compensation under collateral damage for the civilian victim families of the drone attacks.
He said tat drone attacks by the US are violative of Pakistan’s sovereignty. He said under the UN resolution we cannot stop NATO supply route.
Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said that now when the US/ISAF is withdrawing from Afghanistan‚ stopping of supply routes means we do not want withdrawal of US/ISAF. He opposed the drone attacks and collateral damage as a result these attacks.
Abdul Rauf said that Pakistan should promote good relations with its neighbours. He appreciated the efforts of the present government in this regard and referred to the visits by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Afghanistan and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to India.
The House was adjourned till Tuesday.