The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will hold another protest rally at Numaish Chowrangi today at 3pm to demand an identity card for its chief, Altaf Hussain, announced its spokesperson Wasay Jalil.
The protest to demand a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) for Hussain, who is in self-imposed exile in London, reached the Sindh Assembly on Saturday, as parliamentarians called the premier to take notice of the issue.
Outside the assembly, MQM parliamentarians headed by Faisal Subzwari, held placards and shouted slogans in support of their leader. Subzwari claimed that interior minister Chaudhry Nisar was coming up with false statements. All procedures had been duly followed and completed when filling out the forms for a Nicop, he said.
"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his government should immediately take notice of this issue and take action against all those who are not issuing the identity card to Hussain, and are deliberately delaying the process," he added.
The MQM chief had applied for a Nicop on April 4. The party said that even after 40 days, the card has yet to be issued to him.
Parliamentarian and minister for commerce and industry, Rauf Siddiqui, also lashed out at the interior minister, and said that Nisar was making the whole episode into a big issue.
The party leaders said that Hussain is a Pakistani, and like every other citizen, he had the right to acquire a national identity card.
The party said that they would protest at every forum against this issue, and if delaying tactics by the authorities are not brought to a halt, and the card is not issued, they would take this series of protests further.
Before the parliamentarians' protest, they conducted a meeting at the committee room of the assembly, and discussed the issue of the identity card as well as the upcoming budget.
Meanwhile on Friday night, the party through its senator and lawyer Farogh Naseem served a legal notice to the interior ministry, the chairperson of the National Database Registration Authority, and the Pakistan High Commission in London for not issuing the Nicop. The notice said that it was an illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional move of the interior ministry.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2014.
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