152 govt officials concealed dual nationality, SC told

  •  FIA says 655 officials have admitted to possessing dual nationalities

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday informed the Supreme Court (SC) that 152 government officials had concealed their dual nationality.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, was hearing the suo motu case on dual nationalities of government officials.

During the hearing, FIA Director General Bashir Memon informed the apex court that to-date, 655 officials have admitted to possessing dual nationalities.

The FIA DG elaborated that the agency had collected the data of 182,090 officers till March 18. The law enforcement agency also submitted a supplementary report to the apex court.

Moreover, he said that five officials are foreign nationals. At this, the chief justice remarked that if they work day and night the matter can be resolved in days.

The chief justice, referring to one of the government employees who is a foreign national, remarked that Meena Kharal can work in Germany if she is not a Pakistani national.

The additional attorney general further informed the bench that data for another 1,000 officials has also been obtained and notices were also published in newspapers advising others to reveal their dual nationality.

According to the FIA DG, they received data of more than 36,000 officers. While 655 government officials confessed to holding dual nationality, 152 kept it hidden.

At the last hearing of the case on March 26, the Supreme Court had ordered publication of notices in leading newspapers against dual nationals in the government.

The FIA had informed the top court that a total of 210 civil servants had concealed their dual nationality status.

Bashir Memon had told the bench that 291 officers had concealed the dual nationality of their spouses and that the list includes seven foreign nationals who work for Pakistan’s civil service.

The SC had ordered the issuance of notices to 147 officials of the federal government who had concealed their dual nationality, six who are foreign nationals and 291 who had hidden their wives’ dual nationality.

The court had also sought legal assistance from the attorney general of Pakistan regarding the holding of dual nationality by civil servants.

Earlier this month, a report compiled by the Establishment Division revealed that a total of 213 government officers serving in various ministries, divisions, provincial departments and autonomous bodies hold dual nationalities.

The report further said that around 127 of these officers are currently working in attached departments and autonomous organisations, and around 42 officers are currently working with the provincial governments.

The report that was presented to the SC revealed that 20 such officers are working with the Azad Kashmir government.

The SC took up a suo motu case related to dual national officers in pay scales 17-22.

The apex court had on Jan 17 sought details of the officers with dual nationality serving in federal and provincial governments. Establishment Division Secretary Maroof Afzal was appointed a coordinator for the collection of information.

There is no specific law barring dual nationals from serving in government departments, but the court believes that maintaining allegiance to a foreign country could constitute a conflict of interest. The apex court rulings suggest that it could call for legislation in this respect.