Pakistan’s Haj and Umrah pilgrims moved the top court on Wednesday against Saudi Arabia hiring the services of an Indian firm to carry out their biometric verification.
Nadeem A Shaikh of the National Interfaith Harmony Council of Pakistan (NIHCP) filed an application with the Supreme Court on behalf of the pilgrims.
Saudi Arabia has signed a contract with Etimad, an Indian firm operating in Dubai, for pilgrims’ biometric verification.
“Pakistani citizens’ data in the hands of an Indian company is a matter of national security,” the application reads.
The applicant implored Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar to take suo moto notice of the issue and also the government to play its role.
“If biometric verification is extremely important, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) should carry it out for the Saudi authorities,” he added.
The document also stated that Iran, India, Egypt and Bangladesh have refused to abide by Saudi Arabia’s condition.
A few days ago, a citizen filed a petition with the Sindh High Court against the biometric verification of people aspiring to perform Umrah.
In the petition, Nasir argued that a large number of people who wanted to travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the religious ritual had been inconvenienced by the new condition as they had to stand in queues for hours for their biometric verification, wasting their precious time and resources.
The petitioner also mentioned that the contract for collecting biometric fingerprints of the pilgrims had been given to an Indian company.
He maintained that if it was necessary to electronically collect the pilgrims’ fingerprints, the task should have been given to Nadra.