ISLAMABAD: The dual nationality bill faced opposition from all quarters when it was presented in the Senate. The PML-N, coalition partners and some members of the PPP expressed their reservations over the bill.
Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Farooq Hamid Naek introduced a bill in the Senate to amend the Constitution to allow Pakistanis with dual nationality to become member of the country’s Parliament.
Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari referred the bill, named (The Constitution Twenty-second Amendment) to the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice.
Earlier, the bill was opposed by Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N).
Senator Haji Adeel of ANP moved a privilege motion in the House against the bill and argued that a 22nd Amendment could not come into place as there was no 21st Amendment made to the Constitution. He moved the motion on individual basis.
In response to his objection, the Law Minister told the House that the 21st Amendment with regard to increase in pensions of widows of judges was moved in the in National Assembly on Monday. Hence, there was no violation of laws and rules.
Zafar Ali Shah of PML-N while opposing the bill said that previously, it was not a routine bill and hence it should be discussed in the House before referring it to the concerned committee. He said none of the past civilian or military governments had made such an amendment to the Article, but the incumbent government was trying to bring it into place.
Raja Zafar-ul-Haq of PML-N said that the 1973 Constitution was a great achievement of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The Constitution was prepared after a big discussion and all representatives of people had signed on it at that time.The clause regarding dual nationality has a philosophy behind it and hence should not be amended, he said.
The ANP and (PML-N) also staged walkout to protest against the bill. PPP senators Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan and Raza Rabbani also expressed reservations on the amendment bill. “When a person becomes a US national, he takes an oath which bounds him to be loyal to the country and take part in wars if needed”, he said.
He asked why the US was listed among 16 countries; Pakistan had an agreement with if it had such clauses in the oath. Raza Rabbani seconded Aitzaz and said the bill must be reviewed.
Col. (R) Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of Muttahida Qumi Movement (MQM) said that the Chairman Senate had referred the bill to the Committee according to rules and procedures and “the members should only discuss it when the Committee sends its report on it to the House.”
It was also decided that Senators Haji Adeel and Kalsoom Parveen of BNP would also attend the meetings of the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice as special members, when it will take into consideration the 22nd Amendment Bill.