KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed against issuance of “fake” domiciles and permanent residence certificates (PRCs) to people who are not residing in Karachi.
A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh observed that the chief secretary had already constituted divisional scrutiny committees and the Sindh PRC and Domicile Appellate Committee (SPDAC) in the metropolis to decide applications about violation of relevant laws.
The petition was filed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan and others in 2019 against the issuance of domiciles and PRCs to people not residing in Karachi. The petitioners sought formulation of a policy about issuance of domiciles only to locals.
The petitioners had argued that the domicile / PRCs had been issued to applicants allegedly without following the codal requirements, without examining the oral or documentary evidence and verification of the certificate of birth either of the applicant or any of his/her parents or grandparents.
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They maintained that non-residents managed to obtain government jobs and admissions to professional universities on the basis of such fake domiciles and PRCs of urban quota and deprived the citizen of Karachi of obtaining government jobs and admissions to professional colleges and universities.
In its verdict, the SHC noted that during pendency of the petition, the chief secretary had issued a notification in May 2020 constituting a committee to probe into the complaints and reports received regarding issuance of domiciles and PRCs to non-residents of the districts, fix responsibility and give its clear recommendations for further action as per law and rules.
It further said that in June 2020 the committee had recommended for formation of the divisional scrutiny committees and consequently on July 9, such committees, headed by divisional commissioners, were constituted in each division to scrutinise all the domiciles/PRCs issued during the past 10 years and identify suspicious cases.
The bench also noted that in March 2021, another notification was issued about constitution of the Sindh PRC and Domicile Appellate Committee in terms of Rule 8(2) of Sindh PRC Rules, 1971, empowering it to receive the application/reference from the aggrieved persons/divisional scrutiny committee, call for record and relevant persons to ascertain facts about the residence or otherwise of any person and to decide the matter in accordance with law.
“Since the Respondent No.1 has already constituted the Divisional Scrutiny Committee and the Sindh PRC and Domicile Appellate Committee at Karachi for deciding the applications received from aggrieved persons against issuance of PRC and Domicile violating the Sindh PRC Rules, 1971, Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951 and Pakistan Citizenship Rules, 1952, which are also functional, we dismiss the petition along with the pending misc. applications, leaving it open to those persons who may be aggrieved to approach the relevant forum for redressal of their grievances, if so advised,” the bench ruled.
Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2023