ISLAMABAD: While rejecting a petition against the appointment of dual nationals as special assistants by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled that the “patriotism of Pakistani citizens holding dual nationality cannot be doubted”.
The IHC remarked in a written judgement that the premier was accountable to the people and could not run the state affairs alone.
The special assistants to the prime minister could not be disqualified based on the fact that they held dual citizenship, the court said. Their appointments were the premier’s prerogative, it added, noting further that there was no restriction on the number of SAPMs the PM could appoint.
The IHC emphasised that doubts could not be cast on any person holding dual nationalities.
The decision — penned by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah — had been reserved earlier today after the court heard the arguments in the case.
It had emerged earlier this month that four special assistants to prime minister held dual nationalities. These included SAPM on Petroleum Nadeem Babar (US), SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar ‘Zulfi’ Abbas Bukhari (UK), SAPM on Power Division Shahzad Qasim (US), and SAPM on Digital Pakistan Tania S Aidrus (Canada and Singapore).
The disclosure about the nationalities opened the floodgates with the opposition parties slamming the prime minister for inducting dual nationals in the cabinet.
Tania Aidrus quits over ‘Canadian citizenship’ issue
However, Aidrus — an ex-Google executive — had resigned on Wednesday “in the greater public interest” after criticism for holding Canadian nationality.
“Criticism levied towards the state as a consequence of my citizenship status is clouding the purpose of Digital Pakistan. In the greater public interest, I have submitted my resignation from the SAPM role,” she wrote on Twitter.
She added that she would “continue to serve my country and the PM’s vision to my best ability”, noting that it was an “honour and privilege” to serve him.
“I returned to Pakistan with the singular intent to contribute and develop the vision of a Digital Pakistan, a concept which you have always voiced and I share.
“I always was and shall be a Pakistani,” she added.