ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Monday directed secretary interior to appear before it on Wednesday and explain the factual position on non-availability of machine-readable passports (MRPs) in Pakistan Embassy, China.
Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani heading a three-member bench said, “We are surprised and rather dismayed over the insensitive attitude of the passport department. However, before we pass any order, we are persuaded to direct secretary interior to appear in court on 19th February and explain the factual position.”
The bench also comprised Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed was hearing a suo moto notice on non-availability of machine-readable passports (MRPs) in Pakistan Embassy, China.
Muhammad Azam Khawaja, resident of Najing, China, sent an application to the Human Rights Cell of Supreme Court stating that about 7,500 overseas Pakistanis in China are facing hardships due to non-availability of MRPs in Pakistan Embassy, China. The applicant also alleged lack of interest of embassy in solving the issues of overseas applicants.
Muhammad Safdar, Project Director MRPs, Immigration & Passport Department, submitted that the office is in receipt of the applications of 7500 overseas Pakistanis who are held up in China because of non-availability of MRPs in Pakistan Embassy in China. He added the machine was installed in February 2013, however, it is not operational on account of non-appointment of the technical officer which is a grade-17 post.
On the court’s query he told that that a reference was sent to ministry of interior in July, 2013; and also issued 4 to 5 reminders but the ministry has not issued the requisite appointment order because the said ministry has sent the reference to the Prime Minister Secretariat and on account of the general ban imposed, no further action could be taken.
Meanwhile, the same bench on the report submitted by Additional Advocate General Punjab disposed of the suo moto notice about the rape of a 45-year-old widow in Muzaffarabad.
The report stated that the investigation regarding the incident has been completed and the challan had been submitted in the trial court, Muzaffarabad. The chief justice directed the trial court to decide the matter within three months and send its report to District and Sessions Judge, Muzaffarabad.