No citizenship for husbands of Pakistani women
- No citizenship for foreigners marrying Pakistani women
By Our Staff Reporter, Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Feb 15: The government has opposed granting citizenship
rights to foreigners marrying Pakistani women, saying that such a
provision can be used by any country to `plant their agents in
Pakistan', apart from social and economic implications.
The obsevation was made by the government in comments submitted to a
full bench of the Federal Shariat Court, examining Citizenship Act
1951 in exercise of its suo motu powers.
The court, taking note of the fact that under Section 10 of the Act a
married Pakistani man is entitled to obtain Pakistani citizenship for
his foreign wife, was trying to determine if the provision was
discriminatory and repugnant to Islamic principles and violative of
the principles of democracy, equality and social justice.
The government failed to explain why only foreign men and not women
could misuse such a facility.
The Federal Shariat Court's full bench was headed by Chief Justice
Haziqul Khairi and comprised Justice Dr Fida Muhammad Khan and Justice
According to the government, which submitted its response
in consultation with the ministry of interior, the directorate-general
of immigration and passports and the provincial governments, foreign
women marrying Pakistani husbands could not be equated with foreign
men marrying Pakistani women.
The government said it would amount to a blanket approval for all the
foreign nationals to marry Pakistani women and obtain Pakistani
Most of them, it said, would misuse the provision, especially illegal
immigrants like Afghan refugees, Bangldeshis and nationals of other
South Asian states who `do not intend to return to their country'.
The government said that citizenship rights like entitlement to vote,
seeking appointment to constitutional posts and equal opportunities in
matters of public appointments might be weighed with their political
or national interests.
Keeping in view the matter's public importance, the Federal Shariat
Court ordered the secretary of the ministry of religious affairs, the
government of Pakistan, the National Commission for Women, the Aurat
Foundation, the Human Rights Commission, Apwa, vice-chairmen of the
Pakistan Bar Council and provincial Bar councils, president of the
Supreme Court Bar Association and presidents of the high court Bar
associations of Sindh, Punjab, the NWFP and Balochistan to file their
comments in three weeks and appear before the Court on March 14.
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