London-based Kashmiri HR activist denied renewal of NICOP by NADRA

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—A London-based Kashmiri politician, Dr Shabbir Chaudhry, has filed a petition before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking the court’s intervention to get him renewal of a National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) from National Database And Registration Authority (NADRA).
The authority, he has pleaded before the court is not renewing his fundamental citizenship document. The petitioner has attributed his political work and writings exposing Pakistan’s policy on Kashmir as the main cause of this delay on part of the NADRA.
Justice Athar Minallah of the IHC while hearing in the petition issued notices to NADRA directing the authority to submit its comments.
The petitioner has held Chairman NADRA, the In-charge NADRA Registration Centre London UK through First Secretary Embassy of Pakistan, and Secretary Ministry of foreign affairs as respondents.
The petitioner through his counsel Nisar Shah Advocate adopted before the court that he filed an application before NADAR UK office nine months before and still his NICOP has not been renewed while the NICOP of his wife was renewed within six weeks. Ironically both of them had applied for renewal at the same time.
The petitioner’s counsel told the court that his client was a Kashmiri politician, human rights activist and author of many books, and government has been delaying issuance of a NICOP to him due to his political work and writings, which expose Pakistan’s Kashmir policy.
Shabbir Chaudhry and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJ&K) resident had applied for NICOP renewal in June 2015 at Pakistani High Commission in London. Normally the NIC card is issued within six weeks as happened in the case of his wife, petitioner’s counsel told the court.
An identity card is the basic fundamental rights of a person that is being violated in the case of his client and NADRA has been using delaying tactics without any lawful objection. Non-issuance of NICOP to his client will create complications and he will suffer due to the reason. Petitioner has prayed the court to direct the respondents to renew his NICOP without any further delay, held the petitioner’s counsel.

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