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Citizenship issue sparks heated debate in legislature

Citizenship issue sparks heated debate in legislature

Sep 26, 2018 - 08:56

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): The government’s announcement on granting citizenship to Afghans born in Pakistaninfo-icon triggered a heated debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Apart from opposition parties, the Balochistan National Party (BNP) -- an ally of the ruling party -- also through raised objections to the move on a call-attention notice.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Nafeesa Shah slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement on the issue as insensitive. Khan had ignored the sentiments of Karachi residents, she alleged.

The prime minister made the statement without realising the 'sensitivities' of the port city, which had fought civil wars over resources, the PPP legislator claimed. She demanded compilation of data on refugees and immigrants living in the country.

Hina Rabbani Khar, former foreign minister during the Pervez Musharraf regime, also criticised Imran Khan’s announcement as irresponsible. "Khan must realise that after becoming premier, he does not only represent his party, but the entire country."

While rejecting the proposal, BNP president Sardar Akhtar Mengal suggested a comprehensive debate on the issue. He deplored the Balochs were not even treated as human beings in their own country.

In response to criticism from MNAs, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari promised the government was willing to debate the question and consult all parties before taking a final decision.

The Citizenship Act of 1951 granted nationality status to everyone born in Pakistan, according to Mazari, who said: "Whether you like it or not, it is the law that those born in Pakistan are Pakistani nationals."


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