The Supreme Court (SC) has asked the Council of Islamic Ideology and Justice (retd) Khalilur Rehman Ramday for their opinion on registering children with unknown parentage in light of Shariah law.
Abdul Sattar Edhi had requested the SC to devise a legal strategy to resolve the sensitive and complex issue of registering children of unknown parentage to enable them to live their lives with dignity and respect. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the case. Edhi had approached the SC to give these children an identity independent of a legally mandated guardian. He cited in the petition that the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) had refused to register a minor and informed his daughter Kubra that the registration process could not be initiated without the child’s guardian.
The bench observed that a strategy should be devised to register thousands of children of unidentified parentage to make them fully functional members of society. President Asif Ali Zardari had asked NADRA to name him the father of every child of unknown parentage for documentation. The court has adjourned the hearing for three weeks.
Meanwhile, a three-member bench headed by the chief justice disposed of the petition of people displaced by the Mangla Dam raising project with the observation that the matter is out of the SC’s jurisdiction.
The court directed the parties to approach the SC of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in its verdict. The affected people had demanded compensation for their displacement. Earlier, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had informed the court that they had already paid over Rs50 billion to the AJK government as compensation for the people. Wapda has awarded a Rs164 million contract to consulting firms to carry out a feasibility study for upgradation of the 1,000 megawatts Mangla power station that is expected to be completed by October this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.