Pakistani nationality law
The Pakistani nationality law governs citizenship of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The principal legislation determining nationality, the Pakistan Citizenship Act, was passed by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 13 April 1951. Along with Cambodia, Pakistan is one of two countries in the Old World with unconditional jus soli citizenship rights.
Before the creation of Pakistan, its territories were part of the British Indian Empire (which included modern-day India, Bangladesh and Burma) and its people were British subjects. Pakistan was created on 14 August 1947 as a state for Muslims and held the status of a Dominion in the British Commonwealth; it included modern-day Bangladesh, which was known as East Bengal and East Pakistan and became independent from Pakistan in 1971. Upon independence from British colonial rule, several millions of Muslims emigrated to Pakistan from India, and several millions of Hindus and Sikhs who had been residing in what became Pakistan emigrated to India, raising a number of citizenship issues.
Pakistani Citizenship Act 1951
The Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951 was enacted on 13 April 1951; stating the purpose of it is "to make provision for citizenship of Pakistan". The Act has been amended several times, the last occurring in 2000. The Act is divided into 23 sections, each one outlining a different provision of citizenship, of which the most significant are:
|s. 3||Citizenship at the date of commencement of this Act||At the commencement of this Act every person shall be deemed to be a citizen of Pakistan:
|s. 4||Citizenship by birth||Anyone born in Pakistan after this Act is a Pakistani Citizen (Except if the father is considered an enemy of the state or the father has immunity from legal process)|
|s. 5||Citizenship by descent||If one parent has Pakistani Citizenship then a person born to that parent may also get citizenship.|
|s. 6||Citizenship by Migration||If a person migrates from Indian territory before 1 January 1952, with the intention of permanently residing then they may receive citizenship. If he is a man, his wife and children may get Pakistani citizenship as well.|
|s. 7||Person migrating from the territories of Pakistan||Notwithstanding anything in sections 3, 4 and 6, a person who has migrated from the territories now included in Pakistan, after 1 March 1947, to the territories now included in India shall not be a citizen of Pakistan under the provision of these sections with an exception for the person who has returned with a permission of resettlement under the authority of law.|
|s. 14||Dual Citizenship or nationality not permitted||If you hold a citizenship outside of Pakistan the Pakistani citizenship is terminated
|s. 14A||Renunciation of citizenship||If a person pledges allegiance or becomes a citizen of another country they have forfeited their Pakistani citizenship
|s. 14B||Subjects of the State of Jammu and Kashmir||Those persons who have migrated to Pakistan with the intention of residing therein until such time as the relationship between Pakistan and that State is finally determined, shall, without prejudice to his status as such subject, be a citizen of Pakistan.|
|s. 16||Deprivation of Citizenship||One may be deprived or stripped of citizenship if:
|s. 16A||Certain Persons to lose and others to retain citizenship||Regarding the times before and after 16 December 1971 and people residing in what was previously East Pakistan
Since independence, the growth of expatriate Pakistani communities in the Middle East, Europe and North America has led to several changes in Pakistani nationality law. Dual citizenship is allowed in certain specified circumstances:
Pakistanis with dual citizenship are forbidden to run for public office, sit in the assemblies, contest elections or join the Pakistani military. On 20 September 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified eleven lawmakers including Interior Minister Rehman Malik for failing to disclose their dual nationalities upon taking office. The proposed 21st amendment to the Pakistani constitution would have allowed dual citizens to hold public office and contest elections, but the amendment never passed. On 16 December 2013, The Senate of Pakistan unanimously passed "The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2013", aimed at barring the civil servants of BPS-20 and above to hold a dual nationality, the bill will then be debated in the Lower House having passed from there it would then be implemented as an Act after the President of Pakistan signs it.
Both Pakistan and India law claim to the disputed region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of numerous 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 without prejudice.
The independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971 led to the abandonment in the Bengali-majority state of around half a million "stranded Pakistanis", who traced their ethno-linguistic heritage to the Bihar region. Despite official promises, Bangladesh has not accepted them nor does it recognise them as citizens. Conversely, a continuous migration of Bangladeshis between 1971 and 1995 led their population to cross the 1.6 million mark which was only 10,000 at the time of separation. These migrants are mostly illegal and are not given the citizenship as they migrated after the separation.
- Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951, Act No. II of 1951. Retrieved on 2 October 2015.
- "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.
- Official website of the UNHCR country operations profile – Pakistan
- "PAKISTAN: Tolerance wanes as perceptions of Afghan refugees change". Irin. February 27, 2012. Retrieved September 20, 2014.