ISLAMABAD: The son of former Sipah-e-Shahaba chief and a member of the Punjab provincial assembly has approached the Islamabad High Court, seeking its intervention in having his name removed from a terror watchlist.
Hearing a petition filed by MPA Masroor Jhangvi, the Islamabad High Court on Monday issued notices to the secretaries of Ministry of Interior and Punjab’s home department to file their replies.
Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani issued the notices and adjourned the case until November 6.
Masroor, the son of the slain Sipah-e-Sahaba chief Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, had challenged – through his counsel Tariq Asad – a government order which placed his name in the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), in 2014.
The petitioner had named the federation through the secretaries of the Interior Ministry, Punjab Home Department, National Database Regulatory Authority (NADRA) chairman and the State Bank governor, as respondents.
Asad said that Masroor has been deprived of his identity card since the interior ministry sealed his computerised national identity card (CNIC) and he is “unable to open and operate his bank account and draw his salary.”
“Being an elected representative and a legislator of the provincial assembly,” Asad argued, Masroor has been deprived of his identity, cannot operate his bank account and cannot enter into any agreement or transaction of any kind.
Masroor, a member of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), had been elected to the Punjab assembly in a by-election on Jhang-II (PP-78) in 2016. He said that his name was placed in the fourth schedule list of the ATA through a government order issued on May 9, 2014.
Among different grounds, Masroor said, his affiliation with “such a reputed party [JUI-F] is the witness that he is not involved in any terrorist activity and thus not liable to be listed in the fourth schedule.”
Asad argued in the petition that Masroor has never been convicted of any criminal offence by any court nor was he involved or nominated in any case.
In the petition, the counsel said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had declared Masroor eligible for elections, certifying that he possesses all the qualities described in Article 62 of the Constitution.
“The grounds to be listed in the fourth schedule may not apply to him,” Asad said, adding that three years have passed since his name had been included in the list despite having submitted a security bond as provided under section 11-EE (proscription of person) of ATA.
Under 11EE of the ATA, the federal government may, “by order published in the official Gazette, list a person as a proscribed person in the Fourth Schedule on an ex-parte basis, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that such person is concerned in terrorism an activist, office-bearer or an associate of an organization kept under observation or any group involved in terrorism or sectarianism activities.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2017.
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