ISLAMABAD: Three Filipino missionary workers, including the principal of the Islamabad Convent School in Sector H-8, have accused Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan’s wife for cancellation of their visas owing to her ‘personal grudge and ego’ following her resignation from the school after relations with the principal strained.
The missionaries — Sister Miraflor Aclan Bahan, Sister Delia Coyoca Rubio and Sister Alizabeth Umali Seguenza — have petitioned the Islamabad High Court challenging the federal government’s decision directing them to leave the country within 15 days for ‘engaging in employment in violation of their visa category’.
The case has been fixed before Justice Aamer Farooq today. The petitioners have sought the court’s directions to declare the June 16 letter of the interior ministry illegal, a result of personal grudge and ego, and colourable exercise of power and requested the court to set aside the letter.
Roman Catholic Diocese and Diocesan Board of Education have filed the petition and made the interior secretary, personal staff officer to the minister, SSP Operations Islamabad, directors general of the ISI and IB, director immigration FIA and deputy director FIA Benazir Bhutto International Airport as respondents.
In the petition, the missionary workers through their counsel Rana Abid Nazir have stated that the visa section of Directorate General of Immigration and Passport Islamabad granted visas to all three missionaries without raising any query or objection on May 7, 2015.
However, a letter was received on June 17 at the school campuses located in sectors F-8 and H-8 directing the workers to leave the country within 15 days as their visas were being cancelled as they are involved in employment which constitutes a change in the category of visa, the counsel stated.
Nazir alleged that the letter was a result of personal victimisation by the respondents as the wife of the current interior minister was a teacher at the school under the supervision of sister Bahan and developed ‘strained relations’ with the principal.
He added the minister’s wife ultimately resigned without giving the three months advance notice and the letter was issued to the principal along with others based on ‘personal grudge and ego’.
“The letter was issued in one day only on the telephonic instructions of the interior minister,” he stated, adding that the same was evident by looking at serial 7 of the impugned letter saying ‘copy to pso to minister for interior with reference to his telephonic conversation.’
The Philippines Embassy has already clarified to the respondents through written letters that the sisters are purely performing missionary work but no one paid any heed to the matter and the respondents are adamant to send them back by using their official position without any justification of law, said the lawyer.
The convent remained in the headlines after allegations of sexual assault on a six-year-old boy were levelled at a peon who worked at the F-8 branch of the school, reveals the petition.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2015.