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Photo rule exception for women urged

PESHAWAR – The NWFP Assembly unanimously passed a resolution urging the federal government to exempt women from pasting photos on the National Identity Cards and passports and revise the notification of Nadra regarding correction of age or some errors of in documents through court orders.

Previous rules of accepting matric or medical certificate regarding correction of age should be restored, the resolution stressed. The joint resolution, tabled by Senior Minister Sirajul Haq, Alamzeb Omarzai and Mohammad Ali Shah Bacha, said that under Islamic rule and in accordance with some traditions some women do not want their photos on the National Identity Cards and passports.

The resolution said that all those who did not want their photos on NICs and passports were deprived of holding Pakistani passport, which was in violation of their fundamental rights and the government should revoke it.

Speaking at the floor, Mr Haq said most of the people have expressed reservations against the government’s decision of issuing passports only to those who were willing to paste their photos.

The senior minister believed that the policy was against social norms. Therefore the federal government, he added, should exempt women from the condition. The other mover of the joint resolution, Alamzeb Omarzai, said that Nadra through a notification had informed all the elements concerned that after court orders the National Database and Registration Authority would make changes in the age of any applicant.

He said that earlier by presenting matric or medical certificate errors in age of any Pakistani citizen could be corrected. Mr Omarzai said that under the Nadra notification the appellants would have to wait for court orders and in most of the cases it would be delayed for years.

Taking the floor, Mohammad Ali said it would result in undue delay and those who need age correction on emergency basis would be deprived of basic rights. He said in the interest of the nation previous rules set for making changes in age be restored.

After brief debate, the House unanimously passed the resolution demanding the federal government to exempt women from pasting their photos on National Identity Cards and passports. The resolution urged the federal government to direct Nadra for revising the decision.

The House passed two other resolutions, one tabled by Maulana Mujahid asking the federal government to issue relief package for shopkeepers of Janjalpura market, where more than 300 shops were damaged during a fire incident last week.

While the second resolution jointly moved by Maulana Amanat Shah and Mian Nadir Shah demanding establishment of passport office branch in Mardan was also unanimously adopted.

Meanwhile, on a point of order Bashir Ahmad Bilour of the Awami National Party (ANP) raised the issue of dispossessing of Town-3 Nazim Yasin Khalil of his powers for his alleged involvement in mal practices.

The Awami National Party leader was of the view that being public representative the Town-3 nazim should not have been treated in such a way and in case the government had some proof of his involvement in financial bungling then the case could have been processed through the anti-corruption department.

Another active lawmaker of the opposition benches, Abdul Akbar Khan, taking the floor termed the government’s decision of transferring of the Town-3 administration to a bureaucrat as a violation of the basic norms of democracy.

He said the powers should have been transferred to a sitting naib nazim. The lawmaker believed that there was no need of transferring the powers to a non-elected government servant.

Another MPA of the opposition benches, Atiqur Rehman, termed the action as ‘biased and said that during the assembly sessions, they had brought a number financial embezzlement cases to the floor and in most of the cases government’s blue-eyed persons were involved, therefore no action was taken against them.

Responding to the House, NWFP Minister for Local Bodies Sardar Idrees said that for the last two and half years the residents of the Town-3 were registering complaints against the nazim.

He said that as the Town-3 nazim was also an elected representative therefore they were avoiding to take action against him. Mr Idrees told the House that when the situation went out of control the government acting in public interest decided to transfer his powers.

The minister assured the House that he would welcome any positive suggestion. He said that soon he would call a meeting and the lawmakers and the Town-3 nazim would be invited to resolve the issue.

Source: Dawn

Date:9/21/2004

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