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May 28, 2012

Constitution has no restriction on dual citizenship for MPs: Gilani


May 28, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said there was no restriction on dual citizenship for legislators in the Constitution and he was in favour of expatriate Pakistanis getting the right to vote and becoming members of parliament.

Speaking during a Geo News programme Capital Talk, the PM said more than 300 councillors, mayors and members of the House of Commons and House of Lords in Britain were Pakistanis.

“There should be a debate on the issue of dual citizenship and parliament should decide the issue and legislate because now the world has changed,” the prime minister said, and added that expatriate Pakistanis should not be deprived of the right to become members of parliament and voters in Pakistan.

He said nowhere in the Constitution was it written that Pakistanis cannot hold dual citizenship or become legislators and bureaucrats.

“I am in favour of overseas Pakistanis having the right to vote and become members of parliament,” he remarked.The PM said the law and Constitution were not made for individuals and one had to look at the situation in the country and the world. “What will happen if Britain abolished the citizenship of Lord Nazir Ahmed?” he asked.

Gilani said Pakistani citizens all over the world had the right of dual citizenship.To a question, he said according to the law, Dr Shakil Afridi should be given the right to defend himself in the higher courts. He said Dr Afridi was wrong in what he had done but should get justice through the regular courts.

To another question about Pakistan-US relations, the PM said talks were continuing between the two countries on the reopening of Nato supply lines.The prime minister said the relations of countries could not be based on an incident but on solid grounds. To a question about expensive shopping done by him during his UK visit, he responded that those reports were the biggest joke of the year.

NNI adds: Prime Minister

Gilani said there will be no martial law in the country and Pakistan’s future was linked with democracy. He said no one could dare impose emergency in the country.

The PM said the government is confronted with various challenges which adversely affected the economy but despite that the government is trying to give incentives to the people in the upcoming budget. “These include no new taxes‚ creation of 100,000 jobs and expansion of the Benazir Income Support Programme in urban and rural areas,” he said.

To a question‚ the prime minister said the president has immunity, which has been given by parliament.The prime minister said Pakistan is passing through an evolution and all institutions are also passing through the same process and with the passage of time, all would be right.

When asked about the filing of an appeal against the decision of the Supreme Court in the contempt case‚ Prime Minister Gilani said he had consulted legal experts and party leaders on this issue and the decision not to file the appeal was taken with consensus.

The prime minister said there was no charge of moral corruption against him and the only charge against him was disobedience of the court for not writing a letter to the Swiss court, which he had done because the president had complete immunity.

About loadshedding‚ he said his government had added 3,600MW electricity to the national grid and many more short and long term power projects were in the pipeline to end unscheduled loadshedding.