Kashmiri politician moves court for Nicop renewal

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court issued on Friday issued a notice to the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) on the petition of a United Kingdom-based Kashmiri politician seeking court’s intervention for renewal of his identity card. He claims the issuance has been delayed due to his political work and writings which “expose Pakistan’s policy on Kashmir”.

Justice Athar Minallah issued the notice and sought comments on the petition of Dr Shabir Choudhry, whose request for renewal of his Computerized National Identity card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) has not been fulfilled for the last nine months.

Petitioner’s counsel Nisar Shah said Choudhry, a Kashmiri politician and author, was “not provided with a NICOP due to his political work and writing.”

The counsel said that Choudhry, a citizen of Azad Jammu Kashmir, applied for renewal of his ID card in June 2015 at the Pakistani High Commission in London and to date, he has not officially heard from them. He said that a NICOP is normally issued within six weeks, as it was in the case of his wife, who applied at the same time was issued a card in less than six weeks.

Shah asserted that the basic fundamental rights of the petitioner were being violated and abrogated by the respondent.

“[It] is a clear violation of the settled principles of registration authority as well as the fundamental Rights of the petitioner granted by the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune. “Dr Choudhry is being punished for his political work,” he said

In the petition, the counsel stated that the petitioner will suffer irreparable loss if the issuance of card is delayed.

He has prayed the court to direct the respondents to renew his NICOP without further delay.

Other respondents in the petition include the NADRA chairman, and the NADRA Registration Centre, London office In-charge through the First Secretary at the high commission and the foreign secretary.

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