ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued notice to a real estate tycoon, the election commission and interior ministry officials seeking their comment on a petition challenging the issuance of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICS) illegally to a private housing society employees.

Justice Riaz Ahmed Khan issued notices to the Bahria Town Chairman Malik Riaz, National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) Chairman Ali Arshad Hakeem, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Secretary Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan and the Interior Secretary seeking their replies by March 28 on the petition filed by the residents of Rawalpindi’s NA-52 constituency.

The petitioners, registered voters of NA-52 and members of opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), contended that some officials of the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) at the behest of Bahria Town chairman, were allegedly providing CNICs to the housing society employees.

The counsel for the petitioners, Kashif Ali Malik, maintained that the Bahria Town chairman has directed his 21,000 employees and their dependents to get fresh CNICs registered with Bahria Town addresses.

He said that hundreds of CNICs were issued at a single address which is in violation of section-11 of the Electoral Rolls Act, 1974.

The petition stated that there were 375,934 registered voters in NA-52, and the housing society is attempting to skew the demography to influence future elections in the constituency praying to stop the move. According to the petitioners, the NADRA law does not provide for the issuance of fresh cards to those already holding valid CNICs.

He informed the court that Niaz Ahmed Kiani, a resident of the constituency, had lodged a complaint with the Civil Lines police last week against the illegal issuance of CNICs to Bahria Town employees.

The police recovered 1,521 CNICs from NADRA officials possession.

Meanwhile, District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Iqbal on Friday rejected the pre-arrest bail of Attique Hussain, the driver of the NADRA mobile registration Van, and Israr Ahmed. Police took the NADRA team into custody for issuing fake ID cards to Rawalpindi residents. The five-member NADRA crew, including two women, was arrested near Pakistan Town by Civil Lines Police on Thursday.

Earlier, unaware of the crew’s whereabouts, NADRA Islamabad Mobile Registration Unit Deputy Director Muhammad Saqib had filed a complaint with the Koral Police stating that the registration team had been kidnapped by armed men riding a car (AKD 271).

The Koral Police registered a kidnapping case before they learnt that the crew had been detained for questioning by the Civil Lines police. The Koral police then sent a copy of the FIR filed by Muhammad Saqib to Civil Lines police.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2011.