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Wed 15 Dec 2010 08:35 AM

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Bahrain to curb naturalisation of foreigners - king

Citizenship to be offered in 'very limited numbers', says King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

Bahrain to curb naturalisation of foreigners - king
King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain
Bahrain to curb naturalisation of foreigners - king
Central campaign for Al Wefaq National Islamic Society in the run up to Bahrains elections in October

Bahrain's King said the Gulf state would limit
the number of foreigners to whom it grants citizenship, in an apparent gesture
to the Shi'ite opposition after recent sectarian tensions.

The
island state, home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet, has a Shi'ite Muslim
majority population but is governed by the Sunni al-Khalifa dynasty.

Bahrain's
Shi'ite population complains of discrimination in government jobs and services,
a charge the government denies. The Shi'ite opposition has long demanded an end
to Bahrain's practice of granting citizenship to Sunni foreigners, which it
sees as an attempt by the government to change the country's demographic
composition.

"It
is unreasonable that a person enters the melting pot of Bahrain's identity, of
which we are all proud except if he fully espouses the great Bahraini national
spirit ... and if the country needs him, then this should be done in very
limited numbers," King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa told the parliament's opening
session.

Analysts
said the elections held in October were tightly controlled by the government in
order not to let the main Shi'ite opposition group Wefaq win a majority of
seats.

Wefaq
won 18 out of 40 seats in the assembly, whose powers are limited as its bills
need to pass an upper house whose members are appointed by the king.

"It
is the first time for him to use this politically charged word
[naturalisation], which is an opposition term par excellence. The government
has always denied it [gives priority to Sunnis in naturalisation]," said
Mansoor al-Jamri, editor-in-chief of opposition newspaper Al-Wasat.

"This
is a gesture to the opposition," he said.

Bahrain
saw a rise in unrest and sectarian tensions before the polls, after authorities
launched a broad security crackdown in August. It arrested a group of Shi'ite
activists charged with attempting to overthrow the government and also targeted
human rights activists and publications of opposition groups.

The
Shi'ite opposition has said that the government has in particular granted
Bahraini citizenship to Sunnis from Pakistan, Jordan and Yemen who serve in the
country's armed forces and its security apparatus.

 

mohammad ismail mohammad shah alam 6 years ago

How can i get Bahrain citizenship. now i am working in Saudi Arabia. I am a forager in Saudi Arabia. I want to business in Bahrain.

can its possible

thank you