Dual nationality bill opposed in Senate
The Senate’s session that started 45 minutes later than the schedule was presided over by the Chairman Nayer Bokhari.
Coalition partner Awami National Party (ANP) and opposition party Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) staged walkout to protest against the bill. Speaking during the session, Ahsan said whenever a person becomes a United States (US) national, he/she is required to take an oath which binds him/her to be loyal to the country and take part in wars if needed.
He asked why the US was listed among 16 countries with whom Pakistan had an agreement and whose citizens could retain Pakistani nationality if it (the US) had such clauses in the oath.
Senator Raza Rabbani seconded Ahsan and opposed the bill as well. The two senators also said that the dual nationality bill must be reviewed.
Earlier, Senator Haji Adeel of the Awami National Party (ANP) moved a privilege motion against the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution regarding the dual nationality bill.
Senator Adeel argued that the 22nd Amendment could not come into place as there was no 21st Amendment made to the Constitution.
In reply to Adeel’s stance, Law Minister Farooq H Naek said the contempt of court bill which was passed in the National Assembly’s Monday session was actually the 21st Amendment. Hence, there was no violation of laws and rules, he said.
Naek presented the bill before the Senate and it was referred to the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice.
The amendment in Article 63 (1) (c) will allow the parliamentarians to hold dual nationalities of 16 countries with which Pakistan is in agreement with.
Agreeing with the ANP senator, PML-N’s Zafar Ali Shah had said that previously, none of the civilians, as well as the military governments made an amendment to Article 63 (1) (c), however, the incumbent government was willing to bring this amendment into place.
Senator Adeel had moved the privilege motion on individual basis. Speaking to the media after the Senate session, Senator Adeel said the wordings of the bill presented in the Senate today was contradictory to what had been discussed in ANP’s meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and the coalition partners.
“During the meeting, consensus was reached on ANP proposed amendments to the bill drafts that a dual national cannot hold any important public office, including the offices of the president and prime minister, key posts in the military, judiciary, bureaucracy and other sensitive departments.” Earlier, the ANP, which is a key ally in the ruling coalition had refused to support the dual nationality bill and had proposed some changes in the draft bill.