Discrimination in Nationality Laws: A case study of Pakistan

Ayesha Mumtaz, Qian Hongdao, Hamid Mukhtar, Hafiz Abdul Rahman Saleem


Citizenship is one of the fundamental human rights mentioned in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Pakistan ratified the declaration in 1948. However, Pakistan is still lagging behind in achieving the objectives of the Convention on Human Rights and gender-based discrimination persists in the Pakistan Citizenship Act. Under section 10 of Citizenship Act 1951, a married Pakistani man is allowed to obtain Pakistani citizenship for his foreigner wife, but there is no parallel provision for the female citizen of Pakistan to transfer her nationality to her foreigner spouse. Pakistan ratified also the convention on the elimination of all kind of discrimination against women in 1996, but there is not satisfactory implementation in terms of equal rights. The researcher aims to highlight the legal protection of women's rights in Pakistan and to identify the area of ​​inequality and discrimination in the Pakistan Citizenship Act. The article analyzes that many political, social, cultural and religious factors are contributing to this situation and, with such complexities, the fabricated right involved is also partial to grant equal rights to women. The research shows that the less number of women legislators, lack of awareness, low status of women in Pakistan, stereotypical division of labor, misinterpretation of the teachings of Islam and Koran, nationalist ideologies and interests, are some of the factors responsible for the promulgation of discriminatory laws in the country. The study is qualitative in nature and the reference cases and judgments involved have been taken to highlight the situation of victims to analyze the effects of such laws on female citizens. At the end, this study proposes some recommendations for legislatures to ensure equality and repeal or amend discriminating laws against women in Pakistan.

Key words: Pakistan, Gender discrimination, Nationality law, Equality

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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