The Sindh High Court sought copies of regulations issued by the federal government while hearing a plea challenging the mention of 'non-Muslim' along with the name of any religion other than Islam on national identity cards (NIC) on Tuesday.
The petitioner contends in the plea that mentioning 'Hindu' - for instance - is unnecessary in the religion column of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) forms for identity cards when 'non-Muslim' has already been mentioned. The current method is tantamount to religious discrimination, the petitioner maintains.
During the hearing, the assistant attorney-general said that the federal government had issued regulations in 2018 which made it compulsory for minorities to state their religion in the NIC forms.
At this, the court directed the authorities to provide copies of the federal government's regulations.
Meanwhile, a two-member bench comprising Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito forwarded a plea, alleging that Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Shazia Marri's degree is fake, to the SHC Chief Justice so that the case may be transferred to a different bench.
The petitioner has maintained in the plea that Marri was elected from NA235 in Sanghar II but now her constituency has been changed to NA216 in Sanghar II. He alleged that Marri has always produced a fake degree when participating in elections and the degree holder was another woman who was merely Marri's namesake.
The petitioner moved the court to declare Marri ineligible for participating in elections.
The court forwarded the plea to SHC CJ and adjourned the hearing till February 4.
The same bench sought the progress report from the provincial chief secretary over a plea seeking the deputation of special judges and implementation of laws pertaining to hoarding, profiteering of sugar, wheat and other essential items.
The court was informed by a government official that the summary for the appointment of Supply and Prices Department director-general has been forwarded to the Sindh chief minister for approval. After the CM’s approval the matter will be forwarded to the finance department and the budget will be allocated, the court was told.
The petitioner maintained that the relevant laws should be implemented. At this, Justice Mazhar remarked that everything will be done gradually as the summary has been forwarded to the CM.
The court sought a progress report pertaining to the appointment of the DG from the provincial chief secretary by February 3.
Separately, the court sought a reply from the Pakistan Medical Commission over a plea in relation to out of syllabus questions in the Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT).
The petitioner's counsel maintained that the questions in the entry test held by PMC were out of syllabus and that the candidates appearing for the MDCAT faced inconvenience due to it. The counsel contended that there were irregularities in the test conducted by PMC.
During the hearing, advocate Zeeshan Abdullah submitted the power of attorney to represent PMC.
The court sought a reply from the PMC and adjourned the hearing till January 28.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2021.
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