The issue of three Catholic nuns’ visas extension has taken a new turn as the court has upheld the decision of the interior ministry not to further extend the visas in view of public complaints.
Reacting to a news report, the interior ministry spokesperson said the ministry was constrained not to respond to the ‘malicious accusations’ of a group of three nuns on account of the case being before a court of law. “However, now that the honourable court has comprehensively given its verdict and thrown the case out, it is in the fitness of things to respond to the venomous accusations on record,” he said.
He said by dismissing the writ petition in limine, i.e., dismissed from the date of its admission, as being not maintainable and that the petitioners have no locus standi, the court has upheld inalienable right of every sovereign state to either grant permission for entry to any foreigner or to refuse or withdraw any such permission in case the terms of permission are violated.
Read: ‘Home ministry’ orders? Nuns accuse Nisar’s wife of cancellation of visas
He said ‘the petty justification’ made with reference to the minister for interior actually relates to the year 2011 which has been ‘conveniently and dishonestly ignored’.
“In co-relating an issue of resignation, which took place in 2011 with cancellation of visas, the nuns and their attorney have conveniently hidden the hard fact that the same nuns were given extension in the visas in 2013 and again in 2015 under the present government. If anybody in the present government had a personal grudge against them, their visas would have been cancelled a long time ago,” he said.
The spokesman said what the accusers have ‘conveniently hidden’ is that a serious charge of child molestation was registered against one of the employees in the nuns’ school and the parents of a six-year-old boy ran from ‘pillar to post for days’ trying to have an FIR registered but their efforts were constantly stalled by the administration of the school.
“When the issue came to the notice of the ministry of interior through social media and an inquiry was ordered, many parents came forward with serious allegations against the nuns on account of misuse of authority, discrimination against Muslims in the school and commercialisation and violation of their visa terms,” he said.
According to the official, it was in light of these initial findings that the ministry of interior withdrew the last extension granted in the visas of the nuns. “Needless to say that a thorough inquiry will be carried out on all these complaints and the school administration and its board will be held accountable for any violation thereof,” he added.
Read: Indian police arrest key suspect in nun's rape
The spokesman said that under Section 3 of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and Article 3(3) of the Foreigners Order, 1951, grant of visa is an exclusive prerogative of the federal government, adding that under the law, the government is competent to grant or withhold a visa.
He said in case any of the nuns had any reservations over the cancellation of their visas, they should have applied to the federal government for revision of the decision.
“To the contrary, they chose to scandalise the case through the media and through a wholly unsubstantiated petition before a court of law in an attempt to give a political twist to a purely legal and administrative matter,” he said.
The spokesman reiterated that the federal government has the exclusive right under the law to grant or refuse visas to any foreigner. “The same law and rule applies in the most developed countries in the world,” the spokesperson added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.