ISLAMABAD - Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) staged a walkout in the National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday over non-issuance of National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) to the party chief Altaf Hussain even after fulfilling all the prescribed requirements.
The third largest opposition party, MQM, got support of opposition as well as treasury benches (PkMAP) on the matter of non-issuance of NICOP to Hussain.
On the other hand, the PML-N government assured to issue NICOP to MQM’s chief but asked Hussain to visit office for re-entry of the data. Both the opposition and treasury benches kept engaged in debating the issue of uploading the MQM chief’s data for issuance of NICOP for around half and hour.
Baleeghur Rahman, minister of state for interior and narcotics control, said the data obtained for Hussain’s NICOP has been vanished. “There is no harm in issuing NICOP but data could not be uploaded so Hussain will have to visit the office,” he said, inviting a lot of criticism from MQM lawmakers who were already standing on their seats in protest.
Taking the floor, MQM Parliamentary Leader Abdul Rashid Godil challenged the government’s statement about problem in uploading the data. “NADRA’s data once entered remains in system for ten years...If it was not uploaded then interior ministry should accept its failure,” he said, adding that the data was entered, as they also possessed tracking number.
“You are not obliging us, as Imran Khan and Maryam Nawaz Sharif had also been facilitated in the past,” he said and warned of a legal action if the party chief was not issued a NICOP.
Responding to the concerns, the state minister said the government has not refused to issue NICOP to Hussain but he will have to visit the office. “This is not the single case of its nature, as due to some reasons data has not be uploaded till now, so Hussain will have to bother for data re-entry,” he maintained.
Supporting MQM’s stance, PTI senior lawmaker Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that there was no reason to complicate this matter. “Although we have some ideological differences with MQM yet it is Hussain’s right to get NICOP,” he added.
PTI President Javed Hashmi said there was no reason to oppose the basic right of Hussain. “If he is demanding NICOP then it should be given to him,” he appealed.
Having almost the same emotions, Naveed Qamar, senior lawmaker of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said MQM’s chief should be given NICOP.
PkMAP Chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Sahibzada Tariqullah also supported the MQM on the issue.
Taking the floor, PML-N lawmaker Sheikh Rohail Asghar said Hussain was not denied to issue NICOP at any forum. “It will obviously take some time if someone surrenders one’s citizenship,” he informed.