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December 10, 2011

Farahnaz joins dual nationality club

December 10, 2011

ISLAMABAD: A diplomatic listing by the United States has revealed that Pakistan’s ex-Ambassador Husain Haqqani’s wife and President Asif Zardari’s spokesperson, Farahnaz Ispahani, is a US citizen together with the spouses of envoys of Israel and Haiti.
It may be noted that many top personalities of the country are among hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis hold dual nationality. The US has diplomatic relations with as many as 110 countries and only three states have had ambassadors with US national spouses.
Although Farahnaz was generally assumed to be a US national, it has officially been verified only now by the State Department. Farahnaz is not only a National Assembly member in Pakistan, she sits in the all-important Presidency as Advisor to President Asif Zardari.
This revelation coincides with a statement of Lord Nazir Ahmad, a British-Pakistani, who said that a Pakistani federal minister is a UK national. The spouse of a top economic team manager and of a chief development planner are also said to be US nationals. Pakistan’s Auditor General Akhtar Buland Rana has already been disclosed to be a Canadian national.
There are reports indicating that two sons of a big gun have secured Canadian immigration. As for Farahnaz Ispahani’s case is concerned, her US nationality has been disclosed in a context that she cannot enjoy diplomatic immunity like the non-US national spouses of the diplomatic staff stationed in Washington.
The State Department’s list compiled in January this year states: “A diplomatic agent’s family members are entitled to the same immunities unless they are United States national. Asterisks (*) identify US nationality.”
While going through the list of the diplomatic staff of different countries, Pakistan still has Hussain Haqqani in the list as the country’s ambassador with Farahnaz mentioned as her spouse marked with asterisks.
Again, at the footnote, it has been explained that asterisks

denote US nationals. The News tried to reach Farahnaz for her version but she did not respond to phone calls. A couple of messages sent to her seeking her version were also in vain.
The message sent to her stated, “According to State Department’s website, you’re US national. Is that true.” The role of Pakistanis settled overseas, specially some parachuting directly into the power corridors has resented people throughout the world. Pakistan has numerous examples where such overseas national arrived, enjoyed good time in power and then fled.
Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s predecessor is the latest example. Before the Musharraf regime, dual nationality holders were not allowed to become members of Pakistan parliament.
The wrong precedence in this respect was set during 2002 election when the law barring such entries was abolished for paving way for Omer Ghumman, a US national, who became minister for privatisation in the Shaukat Aziz cabinet.
He had also left for US after forced to resign from the cabinet. Pakistan’s former caretaker Prime Minister Moeen Qureshi had to get National Identity Card upon arrival in Pakistan to become the caretaker prime minister.

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