Josh and Mak International
Daily Legal Advice Series Frequently Asked Questions Law Updates And Consultation Papers Our News

Comment : Pakistani law on aliens/foreigners and acquiring citizenship

Status of Aliens

Aliens are defined in Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951, § 2 (as Amendment Act 1952) to mean persons who are neither citizens of Pakistan nor Commonwealth citizens who have status of Commonwealth citizen under British Nationality Act, 1948 and British Protected person under same Act.

Alien visitors must register with the police within 24 hours of arrival and also, if they move about from area to area, in each area to which they go.

Acquisition of Citizenship.

Every person is deemed to be a citizen of Pakistan (1) whose parents or grand parents were born in territories now included in Pakistan and who after August 14, 1947 has not been permanently resident outside Pakistan, or (2) who had any parent or grandparents born in territories included in India on March 31, 1937 and who has been domiciled at commencement of Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951 in Pakistan or in territories now included in Pakistan, or (3) who is a person naturalized as a British subject in Pakistan and has before the date of commencement of the Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951 renounced citizenship of the United Kingdom and of any foreign state; or (4) who before commencement of said Act migrated to territories now included in Pakistan from any territory in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent and who migrated with intention of settling there permanently.

Furthermore, every person born in Pakistan after commencement of said Act is citizen of Pakistan by birth unless (1) such person’s father possesses at time of his birth such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded to an envoy of an external sovereign accredited in Pakistan and is not a citizen of Pakistan or (2) his father is an enemy alien and the birth occurs in a place then under enemy occupation. A person may also acquire citizenship by naturalization or by incorporation of new territory.

(Rel.2009–4/2009 Pub.2206)


Under the § 2 Pakistan Citizenship (Amendment) Ordinance 1972, dual nationality is permissible where a person who being a citizen of Pakistan, is also citizen of U.K. and Colonies or of such other country as Federal Government may, by notification in official gazette specify in this behalf.

Under Pakistan Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1973, § 8(2) a subject of State of Jammu and Kashmir who, being under protection of a Pakistan passport, is resident in U.K. or such other country as Federal Government may, by notification in official gazette, specify in this behalf, shall, without prejudice to his rights and status as a subject of that State, be deemed to be, and always to have been, a citizen of Pakistan.

Under latest Investment Policy, any person of country recognized by Pakistan may get Pakistani citizenship by investing minimum of US$0.75 million in tangible assets and US$0.25 million in cash, both on non-repatriable basis and subject to fulfillment of conditions of Pakistan Citizenship Act.

Married women do not in most cases acquire the status of Pakistani Citizens when their husbands do.

Any alien woman married to a citizen of Pakistan or to a person who but for his death could have acquired such citizenship as above (see subhead Acquisition of Citizenship, supra) is entitled to make application to Federal Government, and, by taking oath of allegiance and obtaining certificate of domicile, she may be registered as citizen of Pakistan whether or not she is 21.


A person who has ceased to be a citizen of Pakistan under Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951, § 1, or has not renounced his dual nationality, where such renunciation is required by law, or has been deprived of his citizenship, is not entitled to be registered as citizen except with previous consent of Federal Government. Minors may be registered as citizens of Pakistan by their guardians and become citizens from date of their registration.

Under National Registration Act, 1973, every citizen of Pakistan, whether in or out of Pakistan, who has attained age of 18 years shall get himself, and a parent or guardian of every citizen who has not attained that age shall get such citizen, registered in accordance with provision of Act. (§ 4). Under § 5 Registrar-General shall cause to be issued to every citizen, who has attained age of 18 years and registered himself under § 4, an identity card. Identity card is subject to be called for inspection by Registration Officer or any gazetted officer under control of, and authorized by, Registrar-General. Identity card shall be surrendered on death of holder or within 60 days of holder ceasing to be a citizen. No citizen who has attained age of 18 years but does not possess or produce an identity card shall be granted a passport, permit or other travel document for going out of Pakistan and he will further not be allowed to vote.

Penalties for offences under Act are a fine not exceeding Rs. 50, or in default of payment of fine, simple imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days.

Under § 10 any person who (a) being a person employed for purposes of this Act, publishes or communicates to any person, otherwise than in ordinary course of such employment, any information acquired by him in course of employment, or (b) having possession of any information which to his knowledge has been disclosed in contravention of Act, publishes or communicates that information to any other person, shall be punishable with imprisonment with term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Rs. 1,000, or with both, provided that nothing in this section shall apply to any publication or communication of information made: (i) for purpose of any criminal proceedings, or (ii) to any gazetted officer authorized by Federal Government or Registrar-General.


If any certificate of domicile or naturalization was obtained by fraud, false representations or concealment of any material fact deprivation of citizenship will be revoked by order of Federal Government. Furthermore, a certificate of naturalization may be revoked for acts of disloyalty, trading with enemy in wartime, imprisonment for 12 months or over within five years of naturalization or continuous absence for seven years unless the absence was in service for the Government or an international organization of which Pakistan at any time during that period was a member, or where the person has registered annually at the Pakistan Consulate or Mission as prescribed.

Other Rights.

Suits may be brought by alien enemies residing in Pakistan with permission of central government and other aliens may sue, without permission. (Civil Procedure Code, § 83). However, it has been held by High Court in cases arising during and after Indo-Pakistan war of Sept. 1965 that an alien enemy is neither competent to institute a suit nor can he continue suit. He is not competent during continuance of hostilities to file an appeal or to continue appeal or execute a decree obtained by him. However, if a suit is filed against an enemy defendant he is not only entitled to defend suit but he is also entitled to file an appeal if a decision is given against him during continuance of hostilities. He is, however, debarred from executing any benefit derived by him in such litigation.


The Josh and Mak Team
If you are reading this, chances are we will become your favourite virtual law firm at some point. In an economy where businesses have lost their strategic edge and are forced to reconsider their traditional concepts of consulting bricks and mortar law firms, which bill by the minute, we can provide you with affordable quality legal advice, delivered anywhere in the world. Since 2010, our firm has already pioneered and adopted the concept of honest and practical legal advice, delivered straight to your email inbox. In the post Covid19 era, working with the Josh and Mak Team means that, you will get the same commitment, discipline and work ethic, without the heavy Bricks and Mortar and the financial baggage which comes with the latter. Let your choice to work with Josh and Mak International become your unfair strategic advantage over your business competitors of the past, present and the future!