The issue of dual nationality to the members of the Parliament should be examined considering national interest rather than the personal interest of few members of the parliament.
Article 63(1)(c) of our constitution clearly disqualifies a person from being elected and from being a member of the parliament if ‘he ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan or acquires the citizenship of a foreign state.’ The disqualification of members of the parliament on this ground is part of our 1973 Constitution. It seems that this Article 63(1)(c) was not invoked earlier than the era of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, perhaps because it was unthinkable for the holders of constitutional offices in Pakistan to acquire nationality of other countries as they had unshakable faith and confidence in the country. It may be relevant to mention an incident of my life that when the ‘Wajibul Qatal Fatwa’ was pronounced by some biased imprudent bigots against me for the first time in 1994, while I was the federal law minister, the then High Commissioner of Canada was so concerned that she expressed a gesture of humanity, sympathy and support, and had offered me to become Canadian national for the protection of my family and myself. I politely declined this offer, as it was a matter of shame and embarrassment for me to accept any other nationality being the federal law minister of Pakistan or even thereafter.
There are at least two distinct categories of dual nationality holders. One is those who had left Pakistan in search of better vocation of life. So the brain drain of our talented, educated citizens had started from the decade of ’70s. These Pakistanis are now well settled in different foreign countries for the past several decades. Their love and concern for the country is beyond any doubt as they have been sustaining our economy by remittances of billions of dollars. Due to their interest in the affairs of the country on their demand, they were granted the right to vote in the general elections. Now some of them are aspiring to be in the Houses of Parliament of Pakistan.
The second category of the dual nationality holders are those rich and famous elitist class of opportunist who are continuing to mint billions or trillions from the resources of Pakistan but have chosen to hold dual nationality of other countries to secure their uncountable wealth, life and properties. By their decision this category is not only exposing their own lack of faith and confidence in the integrity of our country but also spread the same sense of insecurity among the deprived masses. It is this second category, which is keener to remove the prohibition against dual nationality, so that they may continue to influence or control all the constitutional institutions and multiply their wealth and in the event of any serious crisis in the country they can seek refuge abroad.
Similarly, even in the United Kingdom the scope of the Citizenship Oath was expanded from January 1, 2004 to further emphasise that I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen. Debate in the United Kingdom is still continuing to prescribe much more stringent conditions for grant of citizenship and to amplify Oath of Citizenship, etc.
Such preconditions clearly mean that the applicant for US citizenship has to surrender his original nationality. I may warn holders of US citizenship that if he or she has not done so, they will be guilty of breach of Oath of US Citizenship, which may render them disqualified to be citizen of the USA as well. Please also note that such preconditions for grant of citizenship particularly of the United States may practically make it impossible to continue to hold Pakistani nationality after acquiring nationality of the United States.
There is another vital requirement that a Member of Parliament must remain in touch and be available to the people of his constituency. Remote control politics may have been the unique privilege of one of the political leader, but this undesirable practice cannot be encouraged. Like the practice of absentee landlords is most undesirable, so is the new trend of the absentee members of the Parliament who visit more frequently country of their new nationality, rather than their constituency.