An application has been filed with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the issuance of the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistani (NICOP) of Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain.
The application has been filed by MQM (not MQM-Pakistan) through its ex-deputy convener Momin Khan.
The petition said that the Lahore High Court in 2015 had placed a ban on the coverage of speeches of the MQM founder.
The case is pending adjudication to date and therefore, the interim order of the Lahore High Court has lapsed its constitutional validity under Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, the petitioner claimed.
The ban is, however, still being enforced and the MQM founder is still banned from television, the lawyer representing the petitioner said.
In the case, the MQM founder was represented by the late Asma Jahangir and since her death, “he remains unrepresented and therefore unable to plead his case.”
The petition stated that to appoint a new legal representative, the MQM chief approached the London High Commission for attestation of power of attorney.
The commission, however, refused to attest the documents citing the omission of a NADRA although there’s no such requirement for attestation as per the form on the high commission’s website, the lawyer claimed.
The application also mentioned that the MQM chief in 2014 had applied for NICOP and renewal of his Pakistani passport which was confirmed by then Pakistan High Commissioner to London Wajid Shamsul and Foreign Office Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam.
Altaf Hussain, however, was denied a Pakistani identity document on what the petitioner claimed to be a “pretextual objection” to not physically approaching the consulate. The petitioner claimed that although the rule allows people who can’t physically visit the high commission are entitled to NADRA mobile services.
On June 1, the MQM chief again applied for the NADRA team visit for biometrics on which he was told to fill out an online form.
One and a half months later, the application along with all the relevant documents was submitted, the petition claimed, adding that it has not been processed yet.
On the application to issue NICOP to the MQM chief, the Islamabad High Court has issued notices to the federal government, the ministry of foreign affairs, and NADRA. The court has sought a report by October 12.
The court has also issued notices to the respondents on the issue of attestation of power of attorney.
It also ordered the secretary of the interior and Chairman NADRA to appoint an officer to appear before the court on the next hearing and adjourned the hearing till October 12.