During the hearing of a writ petition filed by a US national of Pakistani origin in 2002 , Umar Ahmad Ghumman, for permission to contest the election a question arose about eligibility of former PM Moeen Qureshi . Moeen Qureshi through his attorney told Lahore high court , he only holds a green card, which enables him to carry on his business in the United States. Later on Supreme Court allowed Umer Ghuman to contest the 2002 polls and he went on to become member of Prime Minister Shuakat Aziz Cabinet .
The whole narrative of not allowing dual nationals to contest election is shallow and pretty average specially when one consider green card holders and those who have resident-ship of different countries can pass the eligibility test . On top of that many misleading facts and assumptions based on worst case scenario are being presented to stop people from contesting election which is the fundamental right of every citizen who is illegible to cast votes .
A person cannot be deprived of his fundamental rights because of public disapproval of his acts on moral grounds and constitutional morality must dominate over public morality.” Justice AP Shah
Misleading Fact 1
According to our Chief Justice , media , opposition and PPP’s senator Aitzaz Ahsan Whenever a person becomes a United States (US) citizen, they take an oath which bounds them to be loyal to the country and take part in wars if needed”.
Dr Taqi righly pointed out in his DT column that judges tried to interpret the US law with, prima facie, very little research. The judges impugned the following portion of the naturalisation oath of allegiance to the USA, “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law.”
The US Department of State clearly recognises the dual national status under the law and specifically states,
“Dual nationals owe allegiance to both the United States and the foreign country. They are required to obey the laws of both countries.” The State Department also clarifies that, “In order to lose US citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up US citizenship.” complete
In my honest opinion Process of law making should not be restricted to worst case assumption but should be looked upon rationally in order to provide and protect equal opportunity .
It will be highly unfair if we bar dual nationals living in our 16 friendly countries assuming one country out of 16 countries with which have dual nationality treaty makes it mandatory for its citizen to pick a gun in order to defend it according to its citizenship act . Moreover we should come out of cold war mentality and stop thinking that individuals possessing double nationality could cause betrayal and subversion. State shouldn’t hesitate from providing dual nationals its fundamental rights on basis of assumption of possible war with friendly country !
Misleading Fact 2
Dual nationality holders shouldn’t be allowed to contest election since sensitive information discussed in the parliament .
Ayesha Siddiqa in her op-ed writes : “Is parliament the only source for leaking of information? Or will this rule just be applied to elected representatives who may have less information than many others in the state apparatus? It was almost a year ago that the honourable CJ had administered oath to a Canadian national (dual nationality of course) as the auditor-general of Pakistan. This was done after a lot of noises in the media regarding his several passports and his open admission of having dual nationality. In fact, he came on television and said that the law permitted him to have dual nationality. It is worth reminding that the auditor-general of Pakistan has access to far greater confidential information due to his being the keeper of the expenditure of all government money.
May one also remind the honourable court that it was and still is quite fashionable for affluent Pakistanis, which includes senior military, civil bureaucracy and judiciary, to seek dual nationality to secure the future of their children. So there are hundreds and thousands of cases in which state functionaries and even members of the judiciary or their families have dual allegiance.”
Misleading Fact 3
According to section of media Pakistani living abroad are not aware of ground realities plus they may spend considerable time in their adopted countries which will make it hard for them to able to play effective role in the parliament.
MNA Farahnaz Isphani is one most effective member of the NA Human Rights committee . Similarly , Punjab assembly MP Dr Amna Buttar is one most prominent and effective member of Punjab assembly and only member who questioned Punjab government decision of giving funds to Jamat ul dawah from provincial education funds , debate on polygamy and other issues .
Misleading Fact 4
Allowing dual nationals to contest election will only help ‘elite’ dual nationals living in west and not going to benefit ‘poor’ Pakistanis living in gulf , who don’t enjoying citizenship rights and yet more dollar in form of remittances .
Firstly , neither all Pakistani living in west are rich nor all Pakistani living in gulf are poor . More importantly there is no bar on Pakistani living in middle eastern countries from contesting election . Facts IS those politician who have business in brotherly Islamic gulf state has far far more bigger business in middle east than all dual nationals parliamentarian of europe and america .