Dual nationalities of aide Every elected govt needs expertise, says Qureshi


Staff Reporter


Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that every government needs technical expertise and the inclusion of such non-elected members with their elected counterparts strikes “a healthy balance”. “One must accept that this practice [declaring assets and dual nationality details of cabinet members] is an unprecedented one,” said the foreign minister on Monday, speaking to a private Tv channel.
Qureshi said that previous governments did not ensure that cabinet members’ assets were made public. He credited Prime Minister Imran Khan with the move to have cabinet members’ declare their assets, saying that it would help in transparency and holding them accountable. The foreign minister said that the Constitution was clear that dual nationality holders cannot become members of the parliament. “They can neither become members of the Senate nor the National Assembly,” he said. “It is clear in the Constitution. However, they are not prohibited from assuming any other office.”
Responding to a question about the conflict of interest of such members, Qureshi said that PTI’s policy was clear on the matter. “It is binding on everyone not to do anything that gives the perception that an individual used his government office for personal gains or financial growth,” he clarified. In response to a question as to whether the law should be the same for elected and non-elected members on holding dual nationalities, the foreign minister said that both were needed in government “to strike a healthy balance”.
“Elected members have [their own] value. They are representatives of the people but every elected government needs expertise,” he said. “The Constitution gives space to the prime minister to nominate four advisors who have technocratic expertise.” FM Qureshi said that people in the past had used the same space allowed in the Constitution and PM Imran had done the same. “You have to have a balance,” he said, adding that the prime minister had set an unprecedented example by asking his Cabinet members to declare their assets and whether they held dual nationalities or not.
In response to a question on whether the prime minister will ask Cabinet members to let go of their other nationality, FM Qureshi said that a Cabinet meeting will be held on Tuesday and the prime minister can address the dual nationalities’ issue more. Govt releases asset details of PM Imran’s special assistants, advisers Minister for Information Shibli Faraz had announced on Saturday that asset details and other nationalities of all the special assistants and advisers to Prime Minister Imran Khan are now available for public viewing.
He said that the details have been shared on the Cabinet Division website as instructed by the prime minister. SAPMs, advisers’ dual nationalities: Heated debate expected in Senate, NAThe floors of the National Assembly and Senate are expected to see a heated when the two Houses resume their session Monday over the dual nationality of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistants and advisers.
The question of the constitutional status of dual nationality holders and foreign-based/linked SAPMs and advisers and the matter to raise them in the National Assembly and Senate comes after a meeting of the opposition leaders over the weekend, parliamentary sources told. According to sources, opposition leaders who met over the weekend held consultations over the matter and have decided to work on a two-pronged strategy, challenging the government’s decision to retain the services of these SAPMs and advisers.
Opposition members are expected to raise the question relating to the dual nationalities of Cabinet members through privilege motions and points-of-order in Senate and National Assembly today as a first step when the two Houses commence their sessions. Next, the validity of having such person/persons as SAPMs and advisers in the government will be challenged.

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