Why has the Supreme Court taken notice of Faisal Vawda’s press conference?

OpinionWhy has the Supreme Court taken notice of Faisal Vawda’s press conference?

Agha Iqrar Haroon

Islamabad, Pakistan: The issue of Dual Nationality has been in the news for the last three decades in Pakistan and thousands of bureaucrats have been enjoying this pleasure unnoticed but this issue became grave when the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the year 2022 disqualified PTI Senator Faisal Vawda as a lawmaker over concealment of his dual nationality at the time of contesting the National Assembly election on a Karachi seat in the 2018 general elections.

   

This situation ignited a debate that politicians, bureaucrats, and judicial officers must not have Dual Nationality and concealment should not be the only issue rather a dual nationality must not have public offices. This debate could not move ahead because thousands of bureaucrats and even those sitting in grades 22, 21, 20, and 19 enjoy dual nationalities therefore this debate was snubbed in the country. It may be noted that in neighboring India, no person can hold public office if he/she has dual nationality. Here in Pakistan, dual nationals are sitting in higher judiciary and enjoying the highest posts in civil bureaucracy. The Constitution does not allow persons of dual nationality to contest elections in Pakistan. Article 63 (1) of the Constitution lists what disqualifies a person from being chosen as or elected or being a member of parliament.

One of the disqualifications mentioned in the same article under paragraph (c) reads, “if he ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan or acquires the citizenship of a foreign state”. This means that even if a person does not cease to be a Pakistani citizen but acquires the citizenship of a foreign country, which means dual nationality, he or she will stand disqualified to contest elections in Pakistan. Although several disqualifications were added at later stages after the passage of the 1973 Constitution, this particular disqualification under Article 63 (1) (c) was part of the original Constitution too.

Now the question arises that if members of the Pakistan Armed Forces and politicians cannot have dual nationalities then why Judicial and Civil servants are enjoying this pleasure?

The same important question Faisal Wada respectfully asked which many others are also asking, so why an action of the court against Faisal Wada?

He and many like him are raising legitimate questions that include whether Babar Sattar had told Chief Justice Athar Manaullah about his Green Card at that time when he was indicated in higher judiciary. The supplementary question is that if Justice Manaullah has evidence, was this mentioned anywhere in the documents of his appointment?

Related Story: Judiciary under question in Pakistan: IHC’s explanation about the Green Card of Justice Babar Sattar raises further questions

The question is valid if politicians in the country cannot have dual citizenship, then why can judges and senior bureaucrats (like former Secretary Cabinet who enjoyed his service till his retirement in grade 22 as a dual national of the United States and Pakistan)?

Why is this a double standard? This question is being asked by every Pakistani today, it is all over the media and senior politicians of all parties, Mustafa Kamal, Talal Chaudhry, Major (retd) Tahir, and Aoon Chaudhry have also asked the same question and this writer too ask this same question.

In the Constitution of Pakistan, there is no disqualification for becoming a judge while having dual citizenship. This information is not taken from lawyers at the time of becoming a High Court judge, Justice Athar Manullah made it clear in a letter to six judges in the Supreme Judicial Council in the case of Justice Babar Sattar’s Green Card, responded to Islamabad High Court Registrar to Faisal Vawda in a reply letter.

My friend Rana Riaz Saeed who is a highly qualified person and has been holding senior positions in the development sector as well as the public sector said that this situation means that any government or state employee who has citizenship or residence of any country can do anything illegal while in service and can leave Pakistan for his country of dual nationality and would be beyond the reach of Pakistan’s law. He believes that any such articles/laws in the Constitution of Pakistan should be changed immediately and no public position (state or government job or consultant) should ever be given to any person holding dual citizenship or citizenship of other countries.

I believe that instead of taking action against those who are asking this very pertinent question, there is a golden opportunity for the Supreme Judiciary to ask the honorable judges to answer these questions and take the matter to its logical conclusion without scaring those who are asking these important questions with the fear of legal action.

There is also an opportunity to close the doors for civil servants and higher bureaucracy to serve Pakistan while having the oath of allegiance of countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, etc. Why are we shy to snub the powerful clan that is the Superclass of the country while the powerless person has to answer why he is standing near any important building of the city?

Questions resolve ambiguities after creating ambiguities— Greek Phrase

Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.

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