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Newspost

July 11, 2018

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A tale of two citizenships

The Supreme Court continues to hold the position that Pakistanis who had acquired a foreign citizenship can become eligible to contest for and become members of parliament if they renounce their dual citizenship. However, this is against the constitution. The confusion arises from a failure to distinguish the act of acquiring a foreign citizenship from the resultingfact of holding dual citizenship. While facts can be altered, acts cannot be undone. Under Article 63(1)(c), it is the act which disqualifies a person from contesting the elections, not the resulting fact.

Neither the word ‘dual’ nor the words ‘renounce’ or ‘renunciation’ occur anywhere in the constitution. While renouncing foreign citizenship alters the fact of holding dual citizenship, it doesn’t erase the act of acquisition. Hence, it doesn’t remove disqualification. It is time that the position on this matter of public importance was reviewed ab initio, on merits, including under the principles of construction expounded at length in the Supreme Court.

Arshad Zaman

Karachi

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