ISLAMABAD           -       Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday said that there was no constitutional hurdle in appointing advisors and special assistants to prime minister even if they were dual nationals.

In a statement, the FM said the law barred a dual national from becoming a Senator or Member of the National Assembly. “There is no problem if the PM appoints special assistant or advisers with foreign nationalities. They are of course not members of the Senate or the National Assembly,” he maintained. It was earlier reported that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s cabinet has three billionaires and five foreign nationals.

The assets and liabilities of the advisers and special assistants in PM Imran Khan’s federal cabinet were made public by the government.

According to the numbers present on the cabinet website, there are three billionaires in the premier’s cabinet. There are also five members with foreign nationalities. Two have foreign residencies or green cards.

The three billionaires include Adviser on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistant on Petroleum Nadeem Babar and Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari, according to details released by the government. The members with foreign nationalities are Zulfi Bukhari (British citizenship), Shahzad Syed Qasim (US citizenship), Nadeem Afzal Gondal (Canadian residency), Shahbaz Gill (US green card), Tania Aidrus (Canadian citizenship and permanent resident of Singapore), Nadeem Babar (US citizenship) and Moeed Yusuf (US resident).

The assets declaration forms include how much property the SAPMs or advisers own both within and outside Pakistan, the vehicles they own, the money in their bank accounts and their investments. FM Qureshi said this was not surprising since previous governments had also appointed people with foreign nationality. “The prime minister has appointed technocrats. They are all experts of their respective fields,” he claimed. Separately, in a statement, Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan would continue to expose Indian brutalities in occupied Jammu and Kashmir at every international forum.

He said there was a clear stance that Pakistan was standing with “our Kashmiri brethren in their struggle for right to self-determination.” He said Pakistan acknowledges the pledge of Kashmiri people to accede with Pakistan even before the independence of Pakistan.