(PKONWEB Report) – The Supreme Court of Pakistan was informed on Monday that there were as many as 758 government officials holding dual nationality, that spouses of 824 officials are dual nationals, with 614 officials declaring the same and 210 officials concealing it but detected through different means. Moreover, the spouses of 98 officials are foreign nationals, and 21 officials had concealed the very fact.
According to the report presented in the apex court by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), of those concealing their dual national status, 59 are serving in federal government and 88 in provincial departments.
In its last hearing earlier this month, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar was informed by the Establishment secretary that only 204 officers had admitted to being dual nationals. Expressing surprise over the data, the bench had summoned Nadra authorities to help track such bureaucrats.
Further highlighting the findings of its team’s inquiry, the FIA told the apex court that there were another 291 civil servants who had concealed the dual nationality status of their spouses.
The bench has issued notices to all 147 bureaucrats who concealed their dual nationalities as well as those whose spouses are dual or foreign nationals.
The court has also sought legal assistance from the attorney general on the issue. The court will reconvene on Thursday to continue hearing of the suo motu case.
In its last hearing this month, the court was dissatisfied with a list of only 213 names submitted, and formed a committee consisting of representatives from the Establishment Division, the National Database and Registration Authority as well as the FIA for submitting details of all officers in grade 17 through 22.
The apex court had in mid-January taken the suo motu notice of officers with dual nationalities serving in federal and provincial government departments of the country.
The FIA DG further informed the apex court that seven foreign nationals were working for the civil service, while one of them had concealed that he was a foreign national.
During the hearing, the chief justice inquired whether a foreigner could serve as an employee of the federal government. On this, the FIA DG said it was not allowed under the law.
The establishment secretary added that foreigners could work on projects after they have obtained requisite permission.
The court then ordered the FIA chief to furnish more details of officials and summoned a report in two weeks.
According to a senior bureaucrat, there was no constitutional bar on civil servants holding dual nationality, but the civil service rules make it mandatory for them to furnish each and every detail to the government.
“It will be a misdeclaration and tantamount to concealment of facts on behalf of a bureaucrat if he or she hides their dual nationality from the government,” he added.
The FIA report said the total strength of federal and provincial government officials is 172,840.