Norwegian-Pakistanis rejoice as Norway mulls allowing dual nationality

Syed Sibtain Shah
At present, Norway is the only Nordic country with a ban on dual citizenship-Reuters

The Norwegian government has announced that its will permit dual citizenship after approval from the parliament in coming weeks, paving way for the thousands of Pakistani residents to hold dual nationality.

At present, Norway is the only Nordic country with a ban on dual citizenship. The parliament had asked the government to consider the issue but the matter was postponed last year.

The new law will allow thousands of foreigners with Norwegian nationality to enjoy dual citizenship.

According to Immigration and Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug, the proposal will be sent for approval to the parliament this autumn.

About 40,000 Norwegian people of Pakistani background will benefit from the law.

Norwegian-Pakistani lawyer Ahsan Rashid said that the proposal, if approved, will allow Pakistanis who hold the single Norwegian nationality to reinstate their Pakistani identity. They will have the right to purchase properties and reside in Pakistan whenever they want.

Rashdi said the law would be particularly advantageous to those who frequently travel to Pakistan. “This law will strengthen roots of Norwegian-Pakistanis in Pakistan.”

According to the lawyer, many first-generation Norwegian-Pakistanis who had migrated from Pakistan to Norway in and around 1970s are likely to apply for Pakistani nationality, as opposed to the new generation who might not be interested.

Pakistani citizenship will allow them free entry in the country with not having to pay heavy charges for Nadra documents. There will be no long, difficult procedure to get a CNIC made.

While the law comes with a fair shares of benefits, it has its downsides too. Deportation to one’s home country or other countries can become easier in case of dual nationality for people involved in serious crimes and terrorism.

The Progress Party (FrP), which is part of coalition government in Norway, has exploited the excuse of fight against terrorism as a major argument to favour the proposal.

"It will mean that, for example, people convicted of terrorist acts in Norway may lose their Norwegian citizenship. We cannot make people stateless, but we can deprive them of Norwegian citizenship, if they have another nationality, "said FrP’s Sylvi Listhaug.