Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dual nationality of Pakistani parliamentarians

"A man can be loyal only to one country; a man can owe allegiance only to one State and anyone who tries to pose that he owes allegiance to more than one State is either deceiving himself or thinks that he can deceive others. And, therefore, Sir, to my mind, this is a very important condition that anyone who is to be a Member of this Constituent Assembly must owe allegiance to Pakistan and Pakistan alone." (Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Karachi, May 18, 1948).
Once again there is a debate in Pakistan about whether a person can hold dual nationality and still be a member of the country's parliament. Incidentally, the issue was settled quite conclusively in the days of the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan (1947-1951). A bill was passed against this practice.

The words quoted above were spoken by the founding Prime Minister on that occasion. Perhaps deliberately forgotten by many, they are somehow resonating now.

Parliamentarian Raza Hayat Hiraj, while introducing a similar bill in the National Assembly, said in April this year, "Those who take oath of loyalty to another country cannot safeguard the interests of Pakistan."

A recent article by journalist Khawar Ghumman's is also reminiscent of Liaquat's forgotten quote. The article 'Dual standards on dual nationality' in Dawn, October 21,begins with the question: "Would you trust somebody who has an exit plan to run your country?"


  1. I'm split between the two.
    One one hand their can be a conflict of interest.

    But on the other hand we live in a rapidly globalized world. Diaspora's play a strong role in international affairs (a glance at the Israeli, Greek and Armenian diasporas should confirm this). Furthermore anyone who is a parliamentarian or diplomat can get citizenship of another country easily after he leaves his job as Europe and America have special procedures to get these things done, so it doesn't really matter if the person has dual nationality because the incentive structure (of an exit plan) still exists regardless.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. @Asad, your quote of "an exit plan" was most likely the same reason Liaquat Ali Khan's quote was listed above by the author...