Should Foreign Men Marrying Pakistani Women Get Pakistani Citizenship?

Posted on January 3, 2008
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Law & Justice, Society
66 Comments
Total Views: 79187

Owais Mughal

Yes, if they want to, they should.

At present, they don’t. Pakistan Citizenship Act currently allows a foreigner girl marrying a Pakistani man to get Pakistani citizenship but not vice versa.

Recently, this question of gender equality got a boost from Federal Shariat Court in Pakistan as they declared the Pakistani Citizenship Act, 1951, to be discriminatory against women. On December 19, 2007, the Federal Shariat Court has asked the president of Pakistan to amend the Pakistan Citizenship Act within six months so that a woman’s foreign husband could get Pakistani citizenship, just like a foreign women married to Pakistani men.

In a 26-page judgment announced by the court, it says:

“We are of the view that Section 10 of the Citizenship
Act is discriminatory, negates gender equality and is in violation of Articles 2-A (Objective Resolution) and 25 (equality of citizens) of the Constitution, also against international commitments of Pakistan and, most importantly, is repugnant to the Holy Quran and Sunnah,”


According to Dawn news report of December 20, 2007:

The three-member bench comprising FSC Chief Justice Haziqul Khairi, Justice Dr Fida Muhammad Khan and Justice Salahuddin Mirza had taken suo motu notice on a news report in which a woman was denied the right to get Pakistani citizenship for her foreign husband, though the law entitled a man to obtain citizenship for his alien wife.

This same issue was also brought as a legislative bill before the recently out-gone National Assembly on March 18, 2004 but it got killed by the Government after a delibration of two years. The pretext of Government was that a foreign woman marrying a Pakistani man is not same as a foreign man married to a Pakistani woman. Granting citizenship to foreigner men by marrying a Pakistani girl would not only legalize the stay of a large number of illegal immigrants, but would also increase their influx.

The government also stated that the amendment to the current Pakistan Citizenship Act would add to unemployment and a foreign husband, after obtaining the citizenship, could divorce the woman and move around freely in the country.

Besides, in the Government view, it would also be a blanket approval for all foreign nationals to marry Pakistani women and obtain nationality, and majority of them could even misuse this provision, especially Afghan refugees and illegal Bengali and other South Asian immigrants.

I for one, do not agree with above points at all. I believe a family is the unit of society. Government laws should help keeping families together as well as without any gender bias. Laws should be same for both men and women. Therefore in my view the judgment of Federal Shariat Court is the correct one and if acted on, it will go long way in giving equal rights to women and men.

References:

1. Policy for Pakistani Citizenship
2. Paranoia and Patriotism by Irfan Hussain, Dawn, June 17, 2006.
3. MPs for Review of Citizenship Laws: Discrimination Against Women, Dawn, August 25, 2006.
4. Human Righs Commission of Pakistan

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66 responses to “Should Foreign Men Marrying Pakistani Women Get Pakistani Citizenship?”

  1. sahr david steven senesie says:

    having gone through the citizen act 1951 with it on going amendment I will like to state that what ever our country Pakistan does its based on Islamic laws more than manmade laws of judiciary judicature or legislation law makers the holy quran says all being are equal before God therefore let us look at gender equality for both men and women if for example I married a beautiful Pakistan lady and I want live and establish in Pakistan for the rest of my life I think I deserve citizenship inother to be free… let me help the judiciary to the article 1951 act which need fast amendment and it can be granted citizenship but with second class division citizenship which will have most right but can take the right of politics or any force in the nation but issue passport liscene freedom jobs business etc and every right as citizen…….. we should consider human right act too
    am sahr david steven senesie bsc agriculture pmas arid….

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