ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has arrived in the Supreme Court after having been summoned in a case pertaining to the hike in fees of identity cards for expatriates.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar, is hearing a suo motu case regarding the government charging extra fees for the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP). The bench also comprises Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.
At the last hearing of the case on March 19, the chief justice had summoned the interior minister and secretary to explain a summary regarding a hike in the NICOP fees.
The court was later informed that the interior minister and secretary were out of the city after which the hearing was adjourned until today.
On March 21, 2017, the top judge had taken suo motu notice over the exorbitant fee being charged for the issuance of NICOP and cancellation of the Pakistan Origin Card (POC).
The issue came into court’s notice after a non-resident Pakistani complained that the issuance fee for a POC had been increased to Rs22,000, and the cancellation fee to Rs31,500.
According to the complaint, the POC fee was earlier increased to $150 from $100 and then to Rs22,000 for preparation and Rs31,500 for cancellation of the card. The complainant alleged that the National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) move has discouraged overseas Pakistanis to opt for the POC.
Reasoning the fee hike, NADRA representatives had claimed before the apex court last month that the price of the new chip-based smart identification card was comparatively high due to its distinctive features.
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