ISLAMABAD: Justice Yahya Afridi on Monday ordered to fix an appeal against the registrar’s refu­sal to entertain a petition, seeking a restraining order against the caretaker government’s decision to deport Afghans, before a Supreme Court bench.

The registrar’s office had returned the petition on the grounds that it failed to point out what questions of public importance in the present case were involved with reference to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Filed through Advocate Umer Ijaz Gilani, a joint petition moved on behalf of Farhatullah Babar, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, Amina Masood Janjua, Mohsin Dawar, Jibran Nasir, Syed Muaz Shah, Pastor Ghazala Parveen, Imaan Zainab Mazari, Ahmad Shabbar, Advocate Imran Shafiq, Luke Victor, Sijal Shafiq, and Rohail Kasi, pleaded before the apex court to restrain the federal government and its institutions from detaining, forcefully deporting, or otherwise harassing anyone who possesses a proof of residence, Afghan Citizen Card, asylum-seeker application issued by UNHCR or pre-screening slip issued by its partners Sharp and Sehar.

“It is my understanding that Justice Afridi, in a brief hearing, has ordered fixing the petition before a bench of the apex court to decide about the maintainability of the case,” said Advocate Umer Ijaz Gilani while talking to Dawn.

However, he added that he would wait still for the written order, which has not yet been issued.

The petition pleaded that a direction should be issued, requiring the federal government not to detain, forcefully deport, or otherwise harass anyone born in Pakistan with a claim to birthright citizenship in accordance with Section 4 of the Citizenship Act, 1951, and the ruling of the Islamabad High Court in 2021 case of Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor.

It further contended that the federal government should be asked to permit UNHCR and its partner organisations to register, expedite the processing, and decide on all asylum-seeking applications filed by foreigners currently residing in Pakistan.

Additionally, the petition alleged that the government’s policy has failed to provide any mechanism for distinguishing between birthright citizens and illegal immigrants.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2023

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