Government opposes citizenship to Pakistani women’s foreign spouses | Pakistan Today

Government opposes citizenship to Pakistani women’s foreign spouses

ISLAMABAD – The government is opposed to the grant of citizenship to the foreigners who are married to Pakistani women as it believes the permission would pave the way for back-door entry of anti-state elements into the country.
Interior Secretary Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior on Monday that the same kind of proposal was rejected by the then standing committee on interior and the law ministry in 2005 on similar grounds of security issues and unemployment as it took up “The Pakistan Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2008”.
The committee members, including Bushra Gohar, Wasim Akhtar, Sardar Bahadur Sihar, Roshan Junejo, Nazir Ahmed Bughio and Sahibzada Murtaza Amin and the movers, including Marvi Memon and Donia Aziz, supported the proposed legislation on moral and gender grounds.
They were of the view that citizenship be granted to alien spouses of Pakistani women, but after a process of very strict screening. However, the interior secretary and one of the committee members, Ejaz Virk, were opposed to granting citizenship to alien spouses in the context of the prevailing law and order and security issues in the country.
Ejaz Virk questioned the committee whether Pakistan would grant citizenship to Bal Thakray if Veena Malik or Meera contracted a marriage to him. The interior secretary said the demand by the movers, mostly from the PML-Q, was justified, however, he urged the committee to dispose of the proposed legislation while keeping in view the prevailing security issues. He sought more time from the chair to have a comparative study of the existing laws in India and other countries and the committee chairman, Abdul Qadir Patel, adjourned further discussions on the subject till next meeting.
The committee also supported citizenship to Bengalis who, they said, were being victimized at the hands of local police for not having proper documentation and identity cards. MNA Shehnaz Nasim had moved a bill seeking citizenship rights to stranded Bengalis. However, the committee could not take a final decision in this regard due to opposition from the interior secretary and the matter was left to be decided at the next meeting.

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