If you are a first-generation city dweller, you know how people from your village resent that decision; how they disapprove of your drive to be successful; and how they taunt (or used to taunt) you for abandoning your ‘own people.’ For them, you choose comfort over values, facilities over loyalty. Aggrieved, they might call you selfish at times, the person who put his personal agenda before the interest of the ‘motherland,’ the place of his ancestors, the place which provided him identity and pride. If you are a second or a third-generation resident of a metropolitan area, then ask your parents what kind of resistance they had to face when they decided to move. I am confident that the disapproval now has gotten milder as more Pakistanis migrate out of villages, and people of smaller communities have gotten accustomed to this pattern; but back then, migrants were strongly opposed. The question then is: can the people of small-towns hold emigrants responsible for their inability to progress? For example, can a physician from Lodhra be blamed for not serving his ‘own people’ when he starts practicing in Lahore? An engineer censured for working in Peshawar instead of Swabi? Put it another way, if the family of Imran Khan had not settled in Lahore out of Mianwali or Waziristan, would there be any Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) today? Expanding even more: had Iqbal not stayed in Lahore instead of Sialkot, would there be a Pakistani ideology? And had Jinnah always lived in Sindh instead of moving out, would there be any Pakistan? If not, then can you criticise anyone for leaving Pakistan and settling in another country? The basic principle remains the same. Motherland on a larger scale can mean a country but on a smaller scale it is the village or the town that you or your parents grew up in. The difference is only of size, not that of the concept. When it comes to economy, dual citizens are encouraged to be generous in donating to Pakistan. From appeals made by the government to the Prime Minister, they are persuaded to send their money back home to increase its foreign reserves, to help jumpstart the economy, to avoid borrowing more, to build new dams The point is, people migrate. They migrate within the country, a phenomenon understood as rural-urban migration, or they emigrate out of the country to find new and better opportunities. Generally speaking, when people relocate they bring innovation, hard-work and determination to succeed in their adopted homelands which causes an economic revival and job growth in that region. Simultaneously, they leave behind less competition for those who stayed in their hometowns, hence more chances of success for them. The data shows the pattern in favour of both the places. We instead of supporting the right of people to choose where they want to live, attack them for settling in Europe or the United States (US). However, I must add that this contempt is reserved for those who live in the West where they are treated as equal citizens and enjoy all the freedoms that the society has to offer. People who work in the Middle East where they are not offered citizenship are exempted from this scorn. So whenever dual citizens are mentioned in discussions, their comfortable life in the West is derided as an inherent flaw of their character, as if by doing so they have seized upon an opportunity that did not belong to them. They are told that after taking another oath of loyalty, they cannot be trusted as Pakistanis anymore. The resentment runs so deep that dual citizens in Pakistan are banned from holding any official position or be a part of the legislature, a sign that relegates them as second-class citizens, and strips them off their rights. I must point out that contempt is reserved for those expats who live in the West, where they are treated as equal citizens and enjoy all the freedoms that the society has to offer. People who work in the Middle East, where they are not even offered a nationality, are exempted from this scorn However, after assailing them day in and day out, when it comes to economy, dual citizens are encouraged to be generous in donating to Pakistan. From appeals made by the government to the Prime Minister, they are persuaded to send their money back home to increase its foreign reserves, to help jumpstart the economy, to avoid borrowing more, to build new dams. In short, they are emotionally blackmailed to pay for the suffering that they avoided by leaving the country. Being a dual citizen myself, I would like to do everything in my power to help Pakistan, but what I would not like is to be ridiculed by xenophobes, people whose own patriotic credentials are dubious, who catapult themselves at a higher moral pedestal only to look down at others. PTI has participated in the shameful practice of doubting the sincerities of expatriates, a little more so than any other mainstream political party. Today, if it needs the full support of Pakistanis living abroad, it has to stop vilifying people with dual nationalities. Furthermore, it needs to amend the existing law, remove all the hurdles and let the expatriates be a part of the government, like any other Pakistani. To the dual nationals, on the other hand, I request not to send any money to Pakistan till the government lifts these bans and restrictions acknowledging all of us as equal citizens. It could be our only chance to claim our rights. The writer is a US-based freelance columnist. He tweets at @KaamranHashmi and can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, September 16th 2018.