The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Special Assistants to the Prime Minister (SAPMs) with dual nationalities, observing that the premier has every right to appoint as many assistants as he wants.
“The Prime Minister is the chief executive of one of the most important organs of the state and has to perform multiple/complex functions. A person elected as Prime Minister is answerable to the people of Pakistan and Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament),” Dawn news quoted the court as saying on Thursday.
“A person who holds dual nationality is indeed a citizen of Pakistan and thus his or her commitment to Pakistan and patriotism cannot be doubted.
“A Pakistani citizen holding dual nationality is thus not ineligible or barred from being appointed by the prime minister as a special assistant…,” it added.
The development comes after the government had recently gone public with the assets and nationalities of all the special assistants, bringing to light that seven of them were either held dual citizenship or permanent residency of another country, reports The Express Tribune.
Another petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court against the appointment of unelected individuals as advisers and special assistants.
On Wednesday, SAPM on Health Zafar Mirza and SAPM on Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus resigned from their posts amid the government facing stiff criticism for appointing individuals with a dual nationality or holding another country’s permanent residency as special assistants.
Mirza, who was assigned the portfolio of national health services in April 2019 and oversaw the country’s response to the pandemic, said he made the decision to resign over “negative discussion about the role of SAPMs and criticism of the government”.
Aidrus said that her Canadian nationality, a consequence of her birth and not an acquisition of choice, served as a distraction to her ability to execute the long-term vision for a digital Pakistan.