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"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: APL
Full Name: Association of Pakistani Lawyers (UK)
User since: 24/Nov/2010
No Of voices: 57
 
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APL MOVED SUPREME COURT FOR ACTION TO STOP DISCIMINATION WITH 8 MILLION OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS
 
Association of Pakistani Lawyers (APL) along with fellow Barristers, Solicitors and judges of the Supreme Court of England and Wales as well as ex pat members of APL has petitioned  for intervention through ‘human Rights Cell’ and or ‘Suo Moto’ under Art 184 powers  of the Chief Justice of Pakistan for action to stop discrimination with 8 million overseas Pakistanis. APL is making this request through its current chairman barrister Amjad Malik for  SCOP’s  intervention on behalf of an affected group of around eight million beings, out of which approximately one million reside in the UK.
This application is made in the public interest as the orders are considered to be in violation of the fundamental rights of these eight million people.On or around the 19th of April 2011 a Private Members Bill was presented whereby the act of holding dual nationality was condemned and an amendment was sought to ban those who hold dual nationality, foreign accounts and assets to be barred from voting and or contesting for public office. APL issued a statement terming the Bill unacceptable and opposed the bill. On 4 July 2011, APL further noted through media reports that a ban was announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan on the 4th of July 2011. This act appears to have a political angle as MQM has parted ways with the PPP led coalition, and ending dual nationality seems a trick to woo them back. APL issued an opposing statement terming the announcement unacceptable as APL considers the announcement to be discriminatory and counterproductive. APL vehemently opposes the move to exclude dual national(s) and overseas Pakistanis who have assets abroad to stand for Parliament. APL termed the move as directly discriminatory to the approximately 8 million persons serving the country overseas in violation of Article 25 of the 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which fosters the equal treatment of all citizens irrespective of race, religion, nationality and colour. In a hurried statement, the APL chair said that to prohibit those who even hold a foreign bank account from contesting the elections would discard the eight million or so overseas Pakistanis who have technocracy, businesses, families and experience plus accounts overseas whom the wise men regard to be potential assets and a backbone for the nation in times of difficulty and in the future. Furthermore, the prohibition would also mean that at least 12 of the current Members of the National Assembly would be excluded from eligibility to hold a Parliamentary position.
 
APL is of the view that the Pakistani Diaspora who send billions of dollars and pounds in foreign currency as an economic aid to their country of origin face numerous problems when they live abroad and attempt to visit and repatriate Pakistan, such as Passport renewals, visa and immigration, airline facility and ticketing problems, buying and selling land and its transfers and following illegal possessions, voter registrations and repatriation dreams. But these individuals are always voiceless in the Parliament as they have never been able to secure representation. These Pakistanis all hope at some point in their lives to return to Pakistan for their old age but they are made to feel unwelcome by the bureaucratic chain; this trend needs to be changed along with fuller cooperation from all stake holders as the newly tabled bill adds insult to injury to those who contribute and bring money into the country and encourages those who plunder and squander funds to overseas destinations such as the UK, USA and Switzerland. APL feels that Overseas Pakistanis and their criticism will bring about positive change which is a sign of a healthy society and that positive feedback needs to be given frequently on services, image building and relations within their host country and the idea of target based performance needs to be encouraged at all levels. However, all this requires a political package too, and the ten million plus Overseas Pakistanis – in particular the one million plus residing in the UK – should be given a voice at the highest levels and forums, initially a right to vote and designated seats in the Houses of Parliament which will prevent them from indulging in politics elsewhere and will allow them to concentrate on  raising their healthy suggestions and representations to their designated representatives who are of Pakistani origin in the Houses of Parliament as their chosen, designated or specially appointed representatives as is the case in many countries and in particular the formula that is successfully being implemented in Azad Kashmir. This newly tabled Bill will remove an ideal opportunity to contribute at the respectable forums and the Overseas Pakistanis will remain unrepresented.
APL feels let down by the respective governments as British citizens who are overseas enjoy the right to vote which they have exercised by postal methods for many years in British elections from Hong Kong, Australia and Europe. Overseas Pakistanis have also enjoyed their right to vote in the Presidential referendum in 2002, through foreign missions, despite this Overseas Pakistanis are now being considered to be unworthy of choosing their representatives, which is in itself beyond comprehension. APL has observed that Representation at Parliament will bring diversity, blending it with the mixture of knowledge, skill and public voice from Overseas Pakistanis who are hard working and hold their motherland in high esteem, often more than their counterparts. In 2002, the then Government bestowed upon women their rightful share in the composition of the National Assembly and now it is the turn of the Pakistani population that is abroad and whose financial contribution to the development of Pakistan and to the economy of Pakistan is without a doubt the biggest in respect of foreign remittances. This will change the colour and atmosphere of the National Assembly and will encourage ex patriots to contribute to national politics through the proper channels rather than indulging in national politics in foreign States. Overseas Pakistanis should also be given the opportunity for due representation on the representational board of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) and they should be accommodated as non-executive directors of OPF and members of the Council of the OPF too. In this way, Overseas Pakistanis could bring their first hand experience to the knowledge of the OPF and Overseas Ministries with their experience from their respective country and geographical location as problems faced by an Overseas Pakistani in the Gulf is quite opposite to the issues faced by an Overseas Pakistan in the Western World and the only opportunity to be represented at those legislative forums could be the way out to address their multi dimensional problems and allow those representative bodies to become truly representational and functional which will aid Overseas Pakistanis to make proper representations on matters of mutual concerns to the right people at the relevant forums which at the moment are ‘brushed under the carpet’. “Overseas Pakistanis are dying to contribute in their country of origin from investment to increasing commercial exports and from attracting tourism to building the image of Pakistan around the globe along with contributing financially but a befitting response is necessary to allow this one way traffic of endearment to make its dual carriageway, as since 9/11 overseas Pakistanis despite undergoing all their hardships continue providing their support to their homeland and are awaiting an affectionate hand to be placed upon their shoulders by the elders of the State saying ‘well done’ rather than implementing exclusion orders where money is welcomed but not the person ad their expertise”, said Barrister Malik. APL is opposing this bill which should apply to those who take office and fail to declare their dual nationalities, squander funds abroad, and APL is raising this issue with the Prime Minister of Pakistan and other stakeholders and party chiefs to act immediately to avoid this huge act of injustice and discrimination.
APL has relied on the following ‘grounds’:- That after such a prohibition is implemented; the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will suffer in terms of economy as only last year around 11 billion(s) were remitted by OP’s, development, knowledge and will no longer be able to compete with foreign State’s nationals of its soil, and anti competitive status quo will remain and oppression of overseas Pakistanis will continue unhindered resulting in a brain drain as we witness currently; That the implementation of the prohibition will work to remove the fundamental rights of the approximately eight million Pakistani Diaspora that have been granted to them under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973 (Art.25) that all are equal in the eyes of law, so when those are prohibited to use their fundamental rights we submit that amounts to discriminatory treatment without due process of law; That the eight million persons of Pakistani origin who reside abroad can be deprived of their fundamental rights exclusively for the reason of their residency in violation of Article 25 of the 1973 Constitution. That the ban works to directly discriminate against the eight million or over Overseas Pakistanis. the Petitioner left remediless which is in itself a violation of Articles 4, 5, 9, 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973; That such a prohibition is unlawful as there is no provision in law to justify such barring on the basis of residency. That it will be discouragement than encouragement of the overseas Pakistanis; That it will be arbitrary to reduce the statues of overseas Pakistanis without consultation and due process; That other countries where equal right movements are in motion for Pakistani nationals will suffer greatly if those fighting for civil rights are discriminated back home in Pakistan in an uncivilised fashion. For example UK alone has over 12 members of both houses of Parliament, House of Lords, EU. Renowned Ch M Sarwar, Lord Ahmed of Rotherham being the pioneers to enter Parliament in late 1990’s. Rt. Hon. Sajjad Karim MEP a lawyer represent Pakistani nationals in European Parliament along with hundreds of councillors in UK alone. If this practice is not checked here, argument will arise why other countries should treat them with equal rights when OP’s are considered lesser citizens at home where they have by birth rights.
APL has sought the following ‘action’:- APL prayed that leave to move the Supreme Court in the interests of the public may graciously be granted under Article 184; that as the respondent has in defiance of the observation and or orders of the court(s) removed first the voting right, then the right to contest for public office and now wishes to brand the eight million or so persons as second class citizens unworthy to speak in matters relating to Pakistan without reason, and or issue; It is prayed that their rights are revived by a declaratory judgement; that the eight million overseas Pakistanis will lose their right to private enjoyment to cast vote, contest election and stand for public office which would happen if these enactments come into force and or if already in force, and a certiorari, prohibitory and mandamus orders are prayed to cease such arbitrary, discriminatory treatment facilitating equal rights and treatment to all Pakistanis at soil or abroad. that as petitioner claims that there shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except where there is a provision of law and the Applicant further claims that there shall be no interference by a public authority with the exertion of this right except where necessary in a democratic society. The applicant goes on to claim that there shall be no interference by a public body with practising of this right except in matters of national security. The applicant goes on to claim that there is no interference of the application of this right except for the prevention of disorder or crime. Finally the applicant claims that there is no interference of the enjoyment of this right except where needed to protect health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others.that the eight million persons will not lose their right to private enjoyment to cast vote, contest election and stand for public office all the above requirements are not met in the case of the announcement from the Election Commission and Governmental action by branding dual nationals especially by birth Pakistani nationals as second class citizens and cloning them via NICOP card and declaration that it will be in accordance with the law and will be deemed necessary in a democratic society and will be in the interests of national security, and will not be against the spirit of the prevention of disorder or crime, or against the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.Court Orders that the Respondents may not directly or indirectly obstruct, hamper or resist the court orders and may not remove the rights of the Overseas Pakistanis to cast vote and stand for election unless and until individual remedy is given at the office of the election commission.that a direction may be issued to the Federation and in particular Respondents No. 1 to facilitate the registration of all overseas Pakistanis who are Pakistanis by birth, have acquired Pakistani citizenship and or hold NICOP card for the purpose of casting their vote and or contesting for public office; and that a direction may be issued to the Federation and in particular Respondents No. 1 to facilitate the representation of the eight million overseas Pakistani in both Houses of Parliament and provinces according to their numbers, in line with the scheme that is operational in Azad Jammun and Kashmir; that specific injunctive relief is given expressly to the Petitioner that the Petitioner and his family members are not removed from jurisdiction arbitrarily without judicial oversight and prior permission from this Honourable Court or any pretence and reason(s) which was and is not before this court to ensure justice is seen to be done with the Petitioner; and It is prayed that any other relief which this Honourable Court deems fit and appropriate in the circumstances of this case may kindly be granted.
APL has sought the following action from the Chief Justice and has copied to Prime Minister and Opposition leader for their notice and public statement. APL chair Barrister Amjad Malik has said in a public statement that, “We look forward to hearing from Supreme Court’s Human Right Cell’, Prime Minister’s overseas Pakistanis grievances cell’ and or former Prime Minister and opposition leader Mian Nawaz Sharif’s party forum with a strong statement which has become a public demand with a surety of indiscriminate ‘justice’ with Overseas Pakistanis”.
 
End:-
 
Dated 2 Aug 2011
 Amjad Malik
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