MQM’ leader Altaf Hussain is generally known for inciting political controversies, therefore when he announced last week that he would launch a political drone attack, many thought another controversy was being hatched. Media gave this announcement maximum coverage by speculating what Altaf was going to announce. It could have been his announcement to return to Pakistan from self-exile in UK, or denouncing of British nationality he earlier obtained during stay in the UK, or pulling out of the ruling coalition, or backing off from the long march movement starting Jan 14. However, once again political analyst in media failed to read his mind and he came up with another controversy, Jan 10. He used his 2-hour long speech, which was telecast live throughout Pakistan by dozens of TV channels, to justify his dual nationality. He referred to country’ founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah’ passport which was issued by the then British government; also he read out excerpts from the oath taken by Jinnah as first Governor General of Pakistan wherein he (Jinnah) expressed his allegiance to the British throne.
As is said half knowledge is far more dangerous than no-knowledge. Altaf’ arguments were based on some misunderstanding about the sequence of historical events wherein Jinnah obtained a British passport or was showing his fealty to the King. Jinnah’ passport was issued in 1946, one year before the birth of Pakistan, therefore, it had to be issued by the British India’ government, what’ wrong with that? Same is applicable for the oath Quaid-i-Azam took as Governor General; as per British India’ independence plan, both the new countries (Pakistan and India) were to remain as domain of British Empire till respective country could draw out its constitution and become a republic. Till that time both the Pakistani and Indian Governor General’s were supposed to be representatives of the British throne. India was lucky to chalk out its constitution within two years of independence and got rid of any reference to British King. However, Pakistan struggled another 7 years to finalize its first constitution in 1956.
As per 1973 constitution, a dual national person can’t hold a public office in Pakistan, therefore a number of elected assembly members from different political parties were recently forced to resign to meet this requirement. This clause can be thrown out of the constitution with the help of 2/3 majority of the parliament. Therefore, it’s far better for MQM to take the constitutional route to amend the dual nationality clause, or better take history lessons to avoid unnecessary controversies.
Saudi Arab, January 12.