Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal appeared before the Supreme Court on Monday for the hearing of a suo motu case regarding overseas Pakistanis being charged an extra amount as an issuance fee for Pakistan Origin Cards (POC).

"Are you angry at coming to the Supreme Court?" Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar asked the minister who responded in the negative.

Iqbal then put forward his own request for the court to look into the delay in construction of a school in Narowal on the orders of a high court judge.

The CJP asked the minister for the case's file number, saying the bench would address his concern.

"You consider the courts to be your enemy — they are the assets of the public and the state," he said.

Last week, Iqbal had failed to appear for the hearing and the court was told by National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Usman Mobeen that he was on a visit to Gwadar. On Mobeen's request, the court had adjourned the hearing until today.

The case, that had come to the court's attention last year after a non-resident Pakistani registered a complaint, was being heard by a three-judge SC bench headed by Justice Nisar. The overseas citizen had claimed that the issuance fee for a POC had increased to Rs22,000, and the cancellation fee to Rs31,500.

The chief justice on Monday told the minister to work towards enabling overseas Pakistanis to vote in the upcoming general elections.

"Overseas Pakistanis should have the right to vote," the CJP said. He directed the federal government to submit a response on the fee hike for non-resident Pakistanis' identity cards.

The hearing of the case was adjourned until March 28.

Nadra had earlier claimed before the court that the price of the new chip-based smart identification card was comparatively high due to its distinctive features.

It said the chip-based POC was equipped with 36 security features (overt and covert) intended to preserve a citizen’s identity more efficiently by preventing all types of forgery.

Opinion

Window of opportunity
05 Mar 2021

Window of opportunity

How do we ensure growth revival built on a sustainable, efficient and stable foundation?
March for freedom
Updated 05 Mar 2021

March for freedom

Those demanding ‘azadi’ are moving society forward.
More of the same
Updated 04 Mar 2021

More of the same

Civil society groups and political parties tend to treat their paid employees as casual labour.

Editorial

Ravi project
Updated 05 Mar 2021

Ravi project

THE assault by an enraged group of farmers on a provincial revenue team assigned to acquire land for the...
05 Mar 2021

Climate change

PAKISTAN received much less rainfall in January 2021 as compared to previous years, making it the 17th driest month...
05 Mar 2021

Antimicrobial resistance

WITH the focus on Covid-19, many health issues, though otherwise recognised as serious medical problems, tend to be...
04 Mar 2021

Senate upset

THE Senate election results have delivered a stunning blow to the PTI. While the ruling party has seen an increase ...
ME ‘security pact’
Updated 04 Mar 2021

ME ‘security pact’

THERE has been an overflowing of bonhomie between the Gulf Arabs and Israel over the past few months, much of it...
04 Mar 2021

Students’ protest

A GROUP of university students in Karachi and Hyderabad caught the media’s attention when they announced a...