ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to determine the financial position of a father whose daughter has approached the court with a plea that his name be deleted from the parent column of her passport because he abandoned her in childhood.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar that took up the case of Tatheer Fatima also asked father Mohammad Shahid Ayub, who was present in the courtroom, to get ready to pay compensation to the woman for the mental agony she underwent all these years.
The bench said the compensation would be determined by the court itself and it would also make it sure that it was paid by the father even if he had to take a loan.The court had taken up the petition moved by Ms Fatima — a 22-year-old woman — who also added the words Bint-i-Pakistan to her name.
She told the court that when she needed the documents to get her CNIC in 2009-10, her father threatened to lodge a case against her mother in a police station.
She pleaded that though she had been educated in the best schools like Garrison Army Public School, registration before Nadra to get a CNIC had become a cause of social harassment for her because her name was not available on its record.
When the father claimed that his was a love marriage, mother Fehmida Butt rebutted by claiming that it was an arranged marriage.
In her petition, she raised a question if an individual who abandoned a child either before or after birth was legally entitled to be called a father and whether the child was entitled to be registered as a citizen of Pakistan without identifying his/her parents.
The petition is basically an appeal against a similar plea which was rejected by the Islamabad High Court on May 17 last year.
The high court, Ms Fatima pleaded, had failed to appreciate that she was not seeking any treatment in accordance with the law, but a remedy which was above the prevailing laws. Before dismissing her plea, she said, the high court should have satisfied itself that there was no remedy available under the law.
She also questioned Nadra’s earlier attempt to seek a fatwa from a religious authority of Saudi Arabia and Iran to formulate a policy about the registration of orphans in Pakistan and said that she did not feel like an orphan in the presence of her mother.
“The use of [word] orphan for her is an insult to her loving mother and to Pakistan,” the petition contended, adding that her status should be determined under the Constitution of Pakistan rather than the custom in Saudi Arabia or Iran.
“The petitioner does not accept any other human as equal to her mother or a partner in her upbringing,” the petition argued, adding that no other name shall blot her passport. A child was seeking the protection the Constitution granted and not another parent since for this purpose her mother would suffice, the petitioner contended.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2018