The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday suspended the National Database & Registration Authority’s (NADRA) decision regarding the citizenship of Jamiat Ulema-a-Islam (JUI-F) leader Hafiz Hamdullah.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard a petition filed by the former senator and minister against NADRA’s decision to declare him an “alien”.
The court has given NADRA two weeks to submit its reply on the matter and barred the interior ministry from taking any action against Hamdullah.
In a letter dated October 11, NADRA said Hamdullah “is not a citizen of Pakistan”. “Therefore, NADRA vide its orders U/S 18(1) & 17(2) has cancelled and digitally impounded the CNIC issued to Mr Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor,” the authority said.
Consequently, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) directed all television channels to stop inviting him for talk shows.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Hamdullah’s lawyer questioned the basis of NADRA’s move since the JUI-F had contested multiple elections and also served as a senator.
A NADRA representative told the court that action on Hamdullah’s nationality was also taken in December 2018.
He said a letter was written to the ex-senator regarding his citizenship and Hamdullah had also appeared before a district-level committee.
“The committee asked Hamdullah for his documentation and the documents he submitted turned out to be bogus,” said the NADRA official.
Justice Minallah inquired about the whereabouts of Hamadullah’s children and was told that one of them was currently serving in the Pakistan Army.
“If a mother is willing to sacrifice her son for this soil, then how is her husband’s citizenship being doubted?” the IHC chief justice remarked.
The court also suspended the Pemra notification barring Hamdullah’s television appearances, stating that only the federal government holds the authority to pass such an order.
Hafiz Hamdullah has contested elections six times. He remained a member of the upper house of Pakistan’s parliament on a JUI-F ticket from March 2012 to March 2018. He had also been health minister in the Balochistan cabinet from 2002 to 2006.