Senate panel condemns NADRA notification about Pakhtuns

Hints at moving a bill in the House for banning protests in the capital

Our Correspondent March 06, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior has taken notice of alleged discrimination against Pushto-speaking people at the offices of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

Nadra has reportedly instructed its staff to send Pashto-speaking people – visiting its offices for applying for a national identity, its renewal or any related work – to the help desk for a proper interview before they are issued a token.

Chairing a meeting of the Senate committee on Monday, Senator Rehman Malik termed the ‘instructions’ derogatory and highly condemnable.

He directed the secretary interior to investigate the matter and take back the ‘instructions’ immediately. He also directed the chairman Nadra to appear before the committee and explain why such instructions were passed.

Malik said all the people are equal and respectable citizens of Pakistan and no discrimination based on language, colour, cast or creed is tolerable. He said suspected applicant can be from any province and “there is no logic in mentioning ‘Pakhtun’ in particular”.

Senator Shahi Syed had raised the issue during the committee meeting. He expressed grave concern over the Nadra ‘instructions’ and said they had hurt the feelings of Pakhtuns.

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The committee, meanwhile, discussed other bills during the meeting.

“The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Protection of Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2017 moved by Senator Rubina Khalid was withdrawn by her and was disposed of later.

The committee also discussed “The Islamabad Capital Territory (Prohibition of Interest on Private Loans) Bill, 2017” moved by Senator Sirajul Haq. With the consent of the mover, the bill was referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

The FC Balochistan submitted a detailed report on Gharang Check Post of FC in Balochistan due to which queues of vehicles is a daily routine, causing a great problem to the locals.

The issue had been raised by Senator Hafiz Hamdullah, and the committee expressed satisfaction over the FC briefing, according to which the road was extended, thereby lessening people’s problems. The briefing says that a hospital was also established near the check post for facilitating passengers.

The matter was disposed of by the committee, with the chairman appreciating the FC Balochistan for addressing the public issue.

IGP Islamabad Dr Sultan Azam Taimori and DIG Security Waqar Chohan briefed the committee about their achievements for which the chairman appreciated the Islamabad Police.

Malik said that Islamabad, being the capital of the country, needed to be made fully protected and free of drugs and riots. He said that mobs or political parties besieging the capital gave a bad name to the country, and protests and political gatherings should only be allowed at a particular place, like F-9 Park.

He said if legislation was required in this regard, the committee would move it in the House.

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The committee also recommended amendments to the Blue Book for the purpose of tightening security in the capital.

Malik directed the IGP Islamabad that police must show zero tolerance towards drug smugglers, particularly those supplying the drugs in educational institutions. He said the committee had earlier taken a very serious notice on the prevalence of drugs in educational institutions, and operations were conducted in different institutions of the capital.

He also directed the police and the interior ministry to form a team comprising school staff, ministry officials and policemen for narcotics control in educational institutions.

The committee recommended stringent punishment for criminals supplying drugs in educational institutions. The chairman recommended clinical tests to be taken in different educational institutions at least once a year, and directed the interior ministry to make arrangements in this regard in collaboration with the administration of schools, colleges and universities.

The committee expressed concerns on learning that compensation amount for the martyrs of the Islamabad police is far lesser than those of the Punjab police.

Malik directed the interior ministry to enhance the package and compensation amount for Islamabad police martyrs, stressing that compensation for the families of police martyrs should be equal all over the country.

The committee decided to move a private bill in the House seeking ‘same and equal’ package for martyrs of police in the country.

The committee recommended and directed the secretary interior to acquire land measuring 50 kanal from the Capital Development Authority for Islamabad jail and a training college. The committee chairman also recommended special grant for the ICT police to meet their basic requirements in terms of equipment and other necessities. He further directed a resolution to be moved in the House in this regard.

The meeting was attended by senators including Javed Abbasi, Shahi Syed, Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini and Seher Kamran. Officials from the interior ministry, the law ministry and the Islamabad police attended the meeting and briefed the committee.