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Set deadlines for civil servants with dual nationalities: Pak SC to govts

The apex court had reserved verdict in the case on September 24

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Pakistan SC
Paramilitary soldiers walk past the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. Photo: Reuters

Pakistan's Supreme Court Saturday directed the federal and provincial governments to set deadlines for civil servants with dual nationalities to either give up their job or the second nationality.

The apex court urged the governments to not appoint dual nationality holders on positions related to national security in order to "safeguard national security and interests".

A two-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, announced a verdict in a case initiated by the court in January on the issue of dual nationals occupying sensitive posts.

The apex court had reserved verdict in the case on September 24. The detailed 52-page verdict was authored by the chief justice.

The court in its verdict asked the federal and provincial governments to legislate and take necessary measures to remove dual nationals.

It also warned that failure to relinquish second nationality by government employees within the stipulated time should result in legal action.

"We cannot lose sight of the fact that divided loyalty does not necessarily mean disloyalty to .. Nonetheless, a real concern as raised by the opponents of dual nationality is that of divided loyalties leading to potential national security risks," the verdict stated.

"It is in light of both the advantages and disadvantages of dual nationality that leads us to consider the adoption of a balanced approach where certain important positions in government service and public offices where indeed complete and undivided loyalty to is required ought to be restricted to those who are citizens of only," it said.

The court remarked that government employees who hold foreign nationalities during the course of their employment are a threat to the interests of the country.

The court left a window to engage dual national or non-Pakistanis by saying that they can be employed with the permission of the Cabinet of necessary.

Earlier, a report compiled by government in March showed that at least 213 government officers in departments of federal and provincial governments were dual nationals.

First Published: Sat, December 15 2018. 16:40 IST