By: Chandrashekar Bhat
PAKISTAN’S lawmakers are mulling an amendment to the civil service rules that will bar top government officials from holding dual nationality.
The proposed law could affect over 20,000 bureaucrats, according to a media report on Friday (4).
The Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951 explicitly allows a citizen of Pakistan to hold dual nationality.
However, the people with dual citizenship are currently forbidden from running for public office, sitting in parliament, contesting elections or joining the army.
In a ruling in September 2012, the country’s top court disqualified 11 lawmakers for failing to disclose their dual nationalities upon taking office.
The amendment to the civil service rules came up before the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat on Thursday (3) during a discussion on the Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2021 moved by senator Afnan Ullah Khan in the sitting held on Jan 17, 2022.
The proposed amendment suggests a timeline for dual national civil servants to relinquish their foreign nationality, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ali Mohammad Khan was of the view that government servants should not hold dual nationality during service, arguing that one person cannot be loyal to two countries at the same time.
A recent report submitted to the Supreme Court on dual nationality revealed that more than 22,000 top government officers are dual nationals. According to the report,11,000 officers belong to police and bureaucracy, the media report said.
Officers holding dual nationality are currently working in interior, power, aviation, finance, petroleum, commerce ministry and establishment divisions, it said
Establishment secretary Afzal Latif pointed out that this bar would affect a large number of civil servants, but maintained that it was essential to obtain the ministry of interior’s point of view on the amendment.
Committee chairman Rana Maqbool Ahmad directed the cabinet division and interior secretaries to ensure their presence in the next meeting to convey their perspective on the amendment under discussion, the report said.
Pakistan recently decided to offer a permanent residency scheme for wealthy foreign nationals, including Sikhs living in the US and Canada, Afghans and Chinese, to attract investment and boost its flagging economy and national growth.
Information minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that the scheme was in line with the new National Security Policy, which was formally launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan last month.