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Govt okays law tweak to let dual national contest polls


ISLAMABAD:

The federal government has given the nod to introduce a bill in parliament to amend Article 63 (1)(c) of the Constitution so that dual nationals could content elections in the country.

However, if they secure a win in the polls, they will have to give up their citizenship of the other country before being sworn in.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, PM’s Parliamentary Affairs Adviser Dr Babar Awan said Prime Minister Imran Khan had fulfilled the promise he had made to overseas Pakistanis.

Earlier, a dual national was required to surrender their citizenship of the other country before participating in the elections – meaning they would lose their status even if they suffered a defeat in the polls.

According to Article 63 (1)(c), A person shall 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 acquires the citizenship of a foreign state.

In July last year, the federal cabinet had decided to allow overseas Pakistanis to participate in the voting process as that would be “in the country’s best interests”.

In the run-up to the 2018 general elections, the Federal Investigation Agency had provided the details of 122 candidates possessing dual nationality to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Candidates who were dual nationals had to give up their foreign passports in order to contest the elections that year.

Earlier this year, Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfikar Bukhari had laid emphasis on simplifying the internet voting (i-voting) registration process for the Pakistani expatriates in line with the top court’s order.

He called for introducing a mechanism to enable the overseas Pakistanis to register and cast votes through portable digital devices.

According to a report released by the PTI-led government on the completion of two years of its tenure, the parliamentary affairs ministry of is working to ensure the participation of overseas Pakistanis in the electoral process and had convened many meetings for introducing a biometric system for this purpose.



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