I watched with shock and disbelief the arguments and rationale being put forward by members of the National Assembly and Punjab Assembly that if an individual has a right to vote, he must automatically have a right to stand up for election as an elected member of parliament. Are members of our parliament not aware that even convicted criminals and murderers have a right to vote, but they cannot run for elections in accordance with the constitution? Those who volunteer to contest elections decide the fate and destiny of 180 million people. These men and women must be above board, have no criminal record, nor should their loyalty to Pakistan be in doubt. Logically speaking, only Pakistani citizens who have paid taxes in the preceding five years must have the right to seek an elected representative public office. An individual Pakistani who holds no public office can cast his vote even if he is an expatriate who may hold a dual nationality, or is in the process of acquiring one. However, since a dual nationality holder has pledged an oath of loyalty to another nation which overrides any loyalty that he may have pledged to his former country, such a man is morally and legally bound to take up arms in the event of war if called upon to do so, or perform any such duties, including espionage duties, which a national of that country is expected to perform. Such men with split loyalties should never be trusted to hold public office.
Dubai, June 11.