CNICs issue; PHC restrains LEAs from taking action against tribespeople


PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has restrained the law enforcing agencies (the LEAs) from taking any action against the tribal people whose computerised national identity cards (CNICs) were blocked by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on suspicion of being Afghans.
The directions were issued by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Ikramullah Khan in a writ petition of thousands of people from tribal belt against blocking of CNICs by the Nadra.
The bench directed the law enforcing agencies, including police, Federal Investigation Agency and Special Branchnot to harass the tribal people till a decision in the petition.
The direction was issued on the request of the petitioners as interim relief claiming that they were facing hardships and actions from the law enforcing agencies.
About 4,357 people, including women Khalida, Ayesha Bibi and others, residents of Hazarbuz, Khwaizai Totakhel of Mohmand Agency, had filed writ petition in the high court against blocking of their CNICs and for reopening of their cards.
The petition stated that former governor Lieutenant General (R) Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah had taken the initiative to help the residents of the tribal area and establish writ of the government in this area by declaring it as sub-division of the agency.
It said the Mohmand tribe resides in many areas but mainly concentrated in Nangarhar, Kunduz and Kunar areas of Afghanistan, while in Pakistan they inhabit Mohmand Agency of Fata and also have a significant population in Peshawar district. However, the area of the petitioners is located close to Durand Line.
The court also summoned Shahzada Jabbar Khan, a law officer of Nadra. He was directed to submit reply in the case within 14 days and explain how it is possible that CNICs of thousands of people were blocked without fulfilling legal procedures.
The petitioners’ lawyer Ghulam Mohiyuddin Malik informed the court that CNICs of thousands of people from Fata had been blocked without any reason.
He argued that when the federal government decided to issue CNICs to Pakistani nationals, the petitioners along with many other tribesmen surrendered their old identity cards for getting new CNICs, which were blocked.
Earlier, he submitted that numerous jirgas of elders were convened and the matter was probed. They unanimously made statements on the status of the petitioners as residents of Mohmand Agency and the Nadra then issued 1751 CNICs.
He pointed out that the Baizai APA through a letter informed his counterpart in Ghallanai in 2011 that the petitioners had a right to CNICs. He submitted that under the law, Nadra was bound to issue show-cause notice and give the right of hearing to a person before blocking his or her CNIC.
However, he said that the law was not being followed and CNICs of thousands of tribal people had been blocked.Besides, hundreds of citizens from Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have also filed cases against Nadra in the high court for unblocking their CNICs.
On the other hand, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, on October 3 staged a sit-in outside the offices of Nadra to protest the blocking of tens of thousands of CNICs.