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PTI Moves to Allow Dual Nationals to Contest Polls

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Legislation to amend Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution will be tabled in Parliament

The federal cabinet on Friday approved legislation to amend the Constitution of Pakistan to allow dual nationals to contest elections in the country—provided they give up their secondary citizenship before being sworn in as lawmakers.

Adviser to the P.M. on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan told journalists in Islamabad that the decision would help fulfill one of the longstanding promises of the P.M. to overseas Pakistanis.

Under the proposed legislation, which has yet to be tabled in Parliament, Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution would be amended to allow dual nationals to contest polls before surrendering any citizenship of other countries, thereby allowing them to retain their foreign status if they are defeated in the polls.

Presently, Article 63(1)(c) requires people to be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of Parliament, if they cease to be a citizen of Pakistan, or acquire the citizenship of a foreign state.

If this law passes in Parliament, it will further support the incumbent government’s desire to increase the participation of overseas Pakistanis in the country’s political spheres. In July 2019, the federal cabinet decided to allow overseas Pakistanis to vote in elections. The government says it is currently developing a system that would allow this to occur smoothly using biometric verification.

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