Earlier this month, newly appointed PM Imran Khan stated that Bengali and Afghani refugees born in Pakistan should be given citizenship. This spurred a debate within the assembly, with particular opposition from PPP.
PM Khan’s statement has been called impervious by PPP’s representative Nafeesa Shah and irresponsible by Hina Rabbani Khar during a session of the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The former PPP member quoted Khan’s inauguration speech claiming that his desire to turn Pakistan into Madina is inherently in contradiction to possible granting of citizenship to foreigners. This is because the Saudia Arabia doesn’t grant citizenship to foreigners itself. Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, however, retorted that the vision to turn Pakistan into Madina isn’t synonymous with the idea of modeling the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia entirely. The PPP politicians demanded all necessary deliberations by the government before implementing any changes.
BNP also asked for the matter to be discussed thoroughly amongst the assembly. They claimed that humanity must be given equally to Balochi’s as well and that Khan’s statement does not bode well with the people of Karachi. The same issue in the past has forced members of the opposition to walk out of the assembly.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari represented PTI saying that no change will be implemented without due discussion among all concerned. She stated that all parties would be consulted before anything tangible is put to action.
She responded to the statements made by Nafeesa Shah and members of the BNP. She stated that the Citizenship Act of 1951 grants citizenship status to anyone who is born in Pakistan.
Mazari stated: “Whether you like it or not, it is the law that those born in Pakistan are Pakistani nationals and the house could amend the law.”
Let’s just hope these deliberations yield some positive results in providing security to marginalized communities in Pakistan.