IHC reserves verdict on removing SIC chief’s name from PNIL


PNIL

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Amir Farooq has reserved the verdict on a high-profile request to remove the name of Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) Chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza from the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL).

The move comes amidst a heated courtroom debate over the legal grounds and procedural integrity of the travel ban list.

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In today’s proceedings, Chief Justice Farooq questioned the foundation of the PNIL, seeking clarity on its legal basis. Deputy Attorney General responded that the list was enacted under the direction of the Supreme Court, prompting further scrutiny from the bench.

“Can the law be made on the direction of the Supreme Court?” Chief Justice Farooq inquired, further questioning the Deputy Attorney General about the extent of the Supreme Court’s and High Court’s powers, probing whether any legal framework supports the PNIL.

The Chief Justice highlighted a specific Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO), pointing out that according to its provisions, a name cannot remain on the list for more than two months. “After reading this SRO, you are trapped yourself,” he remarked, directing his comments towards the Deputy Attorney General.

The Assistant Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) attempted to justify the continued listing by citing a police report. However, Chief Justice Farooq was not satisfied. “When the law says that the name cannot last more than sixty days, why didn’t you remove it?” he demanded.

Accusations of intentional delays and bureaucratic obstinacy were also part of today’s proceedings. “Was the name not removed from the list to annoy [the person concerned]?” Chief Justice Farooq speculated, warning that any frivolous answers could lead to immediate contempt of court charges. “You play with people’s lives without any remorse,” he said.

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The Assistant Director’s defence that he was not an authority on the matter did little to pacify the Chief Justice, who criticised the FIA’s perceived arrogance. “FIA people think of themselves as kings to go as they please,” he commented.

As the hearing concluded, Chief Justice Amir Farooq asserted his determination to judge the case fairly.

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