ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice was informed Wednesday that the government was working on a plan that will force civil servants to relinquish their dual nationalities otherwise they will be dismissed from service.

Justice Sardar Ahmad Raza of Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights told the standing committee that the new policy was in the offing aimed at forcing bureaucrats to give up their dual nationalities. “If dual nationals are allowed to become a member of parliament then they would also demand joining Pakistan army as well as to become judge,” he said.

The committee headed by Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk, however, decided that the dual nationals may continue to cast votes in Pakistan but will not participate in elections as candidates for any legislative assembly.

Justice Raza said that the government would not support constitutional Amendment Bill, 2014, which proposes lifting the ban on dual nationality holders from contesting parliamentary elections.

The amendment bill was tabled by MQM lawmaker Iqbal Qadri in the National Assembly and had recommended to amend Article 63 of the Constitution to lift the bar on contesting parliamentary provincial assembly elections for dual nationals.

The committee also rejected an amendment bill 2014 moved by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a lawmaker from the ruling PML-N that seeks to amend articles 51 and 106 of the Constitution of Pakistan to enhance representation of non-Muslims in the National Assembly from 10 to 15 and one additional seat for minorities each in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh assemblies.

Lawmaker Ch. Muhammad Ashraf said that under article 51, a citizen of the country could contest for the general seat, therefore, there was no need to increase the number of representatives of minorities.  

Rejecting the proposal to lift the bar on dual nationals contesting elections, MNA Moeen Wattoo said he completely opposed the bill as there was a difference between a voter and a member of parliament.

“A person having dual nationalities cannot qualify to become lawmaker,” adding lifting the ban on dual nationality holders from contesting election was against the ideology of Pakistan.

Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha said that overseas Pakistanis were respectable as they contributed huge foreign direct investment (FID) to the country. “Casting vote in the election is their right but they should first shed the foreign nationality before conmtesting elections,” he remarked.

He said that overseas Pakistanis were the country’s assets, therefore, they had been given the right to cast their vote in the election. Efforts were being made during the last general elections to ensure participation of overseas Pakistanis in the election through biometric system but due to the shortage of time it was not possible, he said.

MNA Syed Naveed Qamar said that under article 25 of the Constitution, all citizens were equal and every Pakistani national should be given his/her basic right. He regretted that despite the fact that overseas Pakistanis were contributing $14 billion, they were denied the right to participate in elections.

The committee discussed the bill in detail but did not recommend it for further legislation and directed the mover to wait for census. Regarding the issue of minor girls recovered from Karachi, officials of Ministry of Law and Justice informed the committee that the case was not related to human trafficking as the girls were sent willingly by their parents for religious education because of free accommodation.

Ch. Mahmood Bashir Virk said that the government of Sindh should further investigate the matter and inform the committee.