ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday suggested that a commission should be formed to review the fee structure for National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP).
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Nisar and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was hearing the suo-moto case regarding government charging an extra fee for NICOP.
During the proceedings, the CJP asked for the reason the government had sent the summary regarding the change in prices of identity cards, while summoning the interior minister and interior secretary to appear before the court and provide reasoning.
To this, the court was informed that the interior minister and secretary have gone to Gwadar for a two-day visit. The CJP then adjourned the hearing until Monday (March 26).
The chief justice has taken suo motu notice of the case on the application of overseas Pakistani that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has been charging the unnecessary exorbitant fee for issuance and cancellation of POC causing them a financial burden.
According to the applicant, the overseas Pakistanis are paying $100 to the NADRA for preparation of POC, but it has increased to $150.
The unnecessary increase in fee has discouraged the overseas Pakistanis to get the POC.
In an earlier hearing, the CJP had remarked that overseas Pakistanis must receive special consideration from the NADRA in light of their “commendable services” to the country.
The NADRA chairman earlier made a distinction in court between the NICOP and the POC, saying that the former is for people who live in foreign countries for employment purposes but have kept their Pakistani nationality while the latter is for people living in foreign countries who have given up their Pakistani nationality or for foreigners who have blood relatives who are or were Pakistani nationals.
NADRA had claimed before the court that the price of the new chip-based smart identification card was comparatively high due to its distinctive features.
It said the chip-based POC was equipped with 36 security features (overt and covert) intended to preserve a citizen’s identity more efficiently by preventing all types of forgery.