Pakistani nationality law

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The Pakistani nationality law are the laws on citizenship of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The main law on nationality, the Pakistan Citizenship Act, was passed by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 13 April 1951. Pakistan is the only country in Asia with unconditional jus soli citizenship rights.[1]

Citizenship[change | change source]

Before the creation of Pakistan, it was part of the British Indian Empire which also included India and Bangladesh. The people were British subjects. Pakistan was founded on 14 August 1947 as a state for Muslims. It was a Dominion in the British Commonwealth. Pakistan then included modern-day Bangladesh, which was known as East Bengal and East Pakistan. Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan in 1971. After independence in 1947, several millions of Muslims emigrated to Pakistan from India, and several millions of Hindus and Sikhs who had been living in Pakistan emigrated to India. This raised a number of citizenship issues.

Pakistani Citizenship Act 1951[change | change source]

The Pakistan Citizenship Act became law on 13 April 1951. Its purpose was "to make provision for citizenship of Pakistan".[1] The Act has been amended several times, the last time in 2000.[2] The Act is divided into 23 sections, each one about a different provision of citizenship.

Dual Pakistani nationality[change | change source]

Since independence, many Pakistanis have moved to live in the Middle East, Europe and North America. This has led to several changes in Pakistani nationality law. Dual citizenship is allowed in certain cases:[1]

Pakistanis with dual citizenship can not hold public office,[4][5] sit in the assemblies, contest elections or join the Pakistani military.[6]

Problems[change | change source]

Both Pakistan and India claim to the disputed region of Kashmir. This has been the subject of several wars between the two countries. The Pakistani Citizenship Act of 1951 allowed persons who were subjects of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to travel under a Pakistani passport and be considered a citizen of Pakistan.[1]

The independence of Bangladesh in 1971 led to around half a million "stranded Pakistanis". These people trace their heritage to the Bihar region. Despite official promises, Bangladesh refuses to accept them as citizens. Conversely, a continuous migration of Bangladeshis between 1971 and 1995 led their population increasing to more 1.6 million. There were only 10,000 at the time of separation. The migrants are mostly illegal and are not given the citizenship, as they migrated after the separation.

For political and other reasons, the 1.5 million[7] registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan are not given Pakistani nationality, even though most of them were born in Pakistan.[8]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, II, 1951, [1], access date 2 October 2015
  2. "Chapter 14: registration and naturalisation under legislation other than the British Nationality Act 1981 (Annex J: Pakistani Citizenship Law)" (PDF). gov.uk. UK Visas and Immigration. 29 November 2013.
  3. http://embassyofpakistanusa.org/dual.php
  4. "In defence of dual nationals - The Express Tribune". tribune.com.pk. 16 March 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  5. http://www.ecp.gov.pk/ViewPressReleaseNotific.aspx?ID=1451&TypeID=0
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "UNHCR - The UN Refugee Agency". www.unhcr.org. Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  8. "PAKISTAN: Tolerance wanes as perceptions of Afghan refugees change". Irin. February 27, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2014.