Qureshi defends dual nationalities of SAPMs

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–Foreign minister says dual nationality holders, as per the constitution, will not become members of the parliament

–Lauds PM Imran for promoting transparency, says every govt needs technical expertise  

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that every government needs technical expertise and that the inclusion of technocrats with their elected counterparts strikes “a healthy balance”.

“One must admit that this practice [of declaring assets and nationality details of cabinet members] is an unprecedented one,” said the foreign minister while speaking to a private media house on Monday. 

Qureshi said that the previous regime did not ensure an open government. He credited Prime Minister Imran Khan for the move and said that it would help in transparency and holding them accountable.

The foreign minister observed that the constitution made it clear that dual nationality holders cannot become members of the parliament. “They can neither become members of the Senate nor the National Assembly,” he said, adding: “It is clear in the constitution. However, they are not prohibited from assuming any other office.”

Responding to a question about the potential conflict of interest, Qureshi said that his party’s policy was clear on the issue. “It is binding on everyone not to do anything that gives the perception that an individual used his office for personal gains or financial growth,” he clarified.

In response to a question as to whether the law should be the same for elected and non-elected members on holding dual nationalities, the foreign minister said that both were needed in government “to strike a healthy balance”.

“Elected members have [their own] value. They are representatives of the people but every elected government needs expertise,” he said. “The constitution gives space to the prime minister to nominate four advisors who have technocratic expertise.”

Qureshi said that past governments have used the same relaxation. “You have to have a balance,” he said, adding that the prime minister had set an unprecedented example by asking his Cabinet members to declare their assets and whether they held dual nationalities or not.

In response to a question on whether the prime minister will ask cabinet members to let go of their foreign nationalities, Qureshi said that a cabinet meeting will be held on Tuesday where the prime minister will address the dual nationalities issue.

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