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Thursday, December 8, 2022
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EditorialIn defence of dual nationals

In defence of dual nationals

Dual nationals are usually seen as less patriotic, therefore, they are not allowed to serve in certain positions in state institutions. Currently, in Pakistan, there are a number of dual nationals serving in key positions. At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament, the need to remove dual nationals from sensitive posts was discussed. Many names were taken at the meeting as there are a number of people serving at high posts with dual nationality.

The issue of dual nationality is highlighted as those who are citizens of a country other than Pakistan have taken an oath of allegiance to that country’s government or head of state. For many from the developing world, having another nationality is more like a safety net than the idea of serving that nation. However, when a person is posted at key positions in the government of state institutions, it is better to have those who have not pledged allegiance to any other entity. However, having such people on board can also have multiple benefits.

Earlier this year, the PTI government had brought about a bill that suggested that civil servants who have dual nationalities must either forgo their other nationality or resign from the service within a period of six months. Under this bill, more than 2000 people in service were going to be affected. The former prime minister, Imran Khan, was also of the view that people who have dual nationalities cannot be loyal to the country completely as they may have vested interests in serving their other nationality. This may be true for some in highly important positions who can be manipulated by their other state, but many of those who are at lower positions may not think so.

Having people with dual nationalities in key positions can have many positive effects also. Those who are citizens of another country have usually spent time in that country and have deeply engaged with that society. This gives them an edge over those who have not lived abroad for a longer time period. These people have more exposure and more often than not are accustomed to a corruption-free lifestyle. Although it cannot be generalized as all people differ from each other, most who have dual nationalities adopt healthier practices of their other nationality and this may be beneficial to the Pakistani system. Moreover, with their exposure, these people can help in various areas of their service as they are usually broad-minded.

Keeping an isolationist policy may not be beneficial to the country. The system should have such a vetting process that those who have dual nationalities are able to prove their utmost dedication and allegiance to Pakistan and not the other country. The state may be right in keeping sensitive positions away from dual nationals as this is practiced all over the world. However, making people resign over this issue is not feasible and it will only discourage people from working for the government. Many times people hold dual citizenship so that they can easily study in universities abroad and expand their horizons. If such individuals are not taken into state institutions, then it is the state that is losing capital and not the individual. Therefore, dual citizenship alone must not be made into a case to remove certain individuals from key positions in the country.

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