PESHAWAR: Awami National Party (ANP) acting President Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel Sunday said that at this juncture suspending the membership of elected members of the parliament having dual nationality will not be in the best interest of the parliament and democratic set up. “It is the last year of the current national assembly and holding elections on such seats would be futile and an expensive exercise,” he argued.
Talking to The News here, the ANP leader said the Election Commission should be taken to task for ignoring such an important constitutional matter wherein it is clearly mentioned that a person holding dual nationality cannot contest election. “The authorities of election commission in 2008 are responsible for not properly scrutinizing the nomination papers of the candidates,” he added.
The ANP leader said that his party expressed strong reservations over the proposed dual nationality bill and had conveyed the party’s concern to President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the PPP’s co-chairman.
Haji Adeel reiterated that ANP believed that all the key positions including prime minister, president, chief ministers, governors, top civil and military bureaucrats, generals, and judges should not hold dual nationality.
He said the ANP proposed that a person with dual nationality should be allowed to contest the election and in case of victory surrender foreign nationality before taking oath as member of the parliament.
Haji Adeel emphasized that 75 percent of the expatriates are working as labourers in the Middle Eastern countries as well as in Malaysia and Indonesia where no nationality is provided to anyone from outside. “These are the workers who send their money to the country and help in its growth,” he stressed.
“On the other hand, those having influence and power have the nationalities of US, UK and other European countries and they shift financial resources and invest it in those countries,” he argued. He said in neighboring Afghanistan candidates are supposed to surrender their foreign nationality before even contesting the elections. “People with dual nationality on important positions can put the national security in jeopardy. If we have to appreciate the services of those working abroad, a few seats can be reserved in the parliament in line with the Constitution of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK),” he added.
Haji Adeel said ANP supports the contempt of court ordinance. He said in 1997 Mian Nawaz Sharif introduced the contempt of court bill which was taken off the Constitution by General Pervez Musharraf and his allies in the 17th amendment and issued as an ordinance that also lapsed in 2004.
However, he pointed out that in the present ordinance the right to appeal against the contempt of court decision has also been provided which is consistent with the process of natural justice.