Few months back, Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended membership of some parliamentarians for holding dual-nationalities. The court’s decision started a new debate in Pakistan whether dual-nationals should be allowed to hold public office or not.
The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan clearly bars dual-nationality holders from becoming a parliamentarian. However, some politicians (mainly from PPP) have criticized the clause and have demanded that an amendment should be made to allow dual-nationality holders to become members of parliament. The ruling party has now presented the 21st amendment in the Senate which allows dual-nationals to contest elections and hold public office. But I’m not writing this article to debate on this topic, my purpose of writing is something else.
In Pakistan, no major scandal is considered complete unless the Faujis are made part of it. So, when Supreme Court suspended parliamentarians, people on talk shows & social media sites started raising questions about dual-nationality cases in Pakistan’s Armed Forces. Nothing new! It has now become a fashion to criticize forces and most of the people criticize without having knowledge of the facts. One such example is a tweet by prominent PPP member Farahnaz Isphani who claimed that many generals, brigadiers, and colonels in the Army have dual-nationality. But, before tweeting this ‘information’ she failed to check the facts.
The facts are:
- According to law, only citizens of Pakistan and domicile holders of Azad Kashmir & Gilgit Baltistan can join armed forces of Pakistan.
- If any of the candidates has a dual-nationality, he or she will be required to surrender nationality other than Pakistani at the time of final selection.
Screenshot from Pakistan Army’s recruitment website.
These facts are clearly mentioned in all the recruitment advertisements of Pakistan Armed Forces. Each and every document of candidates is scrutinized before the final selection. So, no one can join the military academies (Kakul, Risalpur, and Omara) without surrendering his dual-nationality.
Now, the question that arises is whether servicemen can get dual-nationality after getting commission in the forces. The answer is plain no. No officer can leave Pakistan without taking permission from relevant GHQ. The officers are granted “Ex-Pakistan” leave only when military authorities are satisfied with the purpose of leave. Even in that case, maximum two months of leave is granted to officers. Moreover, the officer has to report to the Pakistani Embassy or High commission in the visiting country. So, no officer can get a dual-nationality under this stringent system.
It’s my humble request to all Pakistanis to check facts before tweeting or posting statuses. Don’t spread rumors or ‘fake facts’!
Disclaimer: This is not an ISPR or ISI sponsored article.