A bill titled "Constitution Amendment Act, 2013" was moved in Senate Monday by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), seeking changes in Article 63 - a clause hanging over heads MPs like the sword of Damocles. Senator Colonel Syed Tahir Hussain Mashahdi (Retd) moved the bill, which was later referred to the standing committee of law and Justice for further consideration.
According to the statement of objects and reasons, the mover has been seeking an amendment in Article 63, sub-section1 clause c of the constitution, to lift the constitutional bar on the dual nationality holders to be members of parliament.
The section 63(1)(c) in its original form maintained that a person will be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the parliament if he ceases to be a citizen of Pakistan, or acquires the citizenship of foreign state.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as following the judgement of Apex court, already disqualified more than 11 nomination papers of former parliamentarians including former interior minister Rehman Malik, Chaudhry Zahid Iqbal, Farhanaz Ispahani, Farhat Mahmood Khan, Mohammad Jamil Malik; former Member Provincial Assembly members Mohammad Akhlaq, Dr Ashraf Chohan, Nadia Gabol, Amna Buttar, Waseem Qadir, Nadeem Khadim and Ahmed Ali Shah.
The mover Mashahdi was of the view that many countries of the world permitted the holding of dual nationality or citizenship, which resulted the persons holding dual nationalities could exercise the right to vote as well run for parliamentary elections.
He further maintained that overseas Pakistanis deeply concerned with events in the country and keen to play effective role and want to contribute to national cause, adding "Through amendment in Article 63 (1)(c), the constitutional bar on the dual nationality holders to be members of the parliament is being lifted ", Mashahdi maintained. Meanwhile, the chairman Senate, Nayyar Hussain Bukhari deferred the remaining legislation items, adjournment motions and resolutions on agenda because of absence of concerned ministers and senators.