Islamabad - Islamabad High Court on Thursday served notices on ministry of interior and National Database and Registration Authority in a petition challenging age limit for appointment of chairman NADRA.

A single bench of the IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui heard the petition moved by a director general of NADRA after the federal government published an advertisement in this regard on December 23, 2017.

Besides issuing notices to the respondents, the IHC also directed the respondents to submit replies within fifteen days. The bench further directed the respondents not to notify successful candidate till adjudication of the matter but the authorities could go ahead with selection process for chairman NADRA.

Talha Saeed, the petitioner, moved the court and cited the federation of Pakistan through Secretary Interior and chairman NADRA as respondents. In the petition, Talha said that he fulfilled the criterion for the position of chairman NADRA and was previously among the candidates called for interview.

He added that this time, however, the federal government fixed the age limit as 55 years to which the petitioner was above. The petitioner submitted that to exclude an eminently-qualified candidate purely on the basis of age was blatantly discriminatory and unlawful. It also ignores seniority of the petitioner despite his being the only candidate who is a regular employee of NADRA and has provided many years of dedicated service, he stated.

Talha said that he had been working as director general registration directorate at NADRA since 2011 till present, which, he said, was the senior most positions in the authority. He added that from February 23, 2000 till March 9, 2000, he served on deputation from Pakistan Army with the National Database Organisation (NDO). He held the post of Joint Director. Thereafter, the NDO and the Registration Directorate were merged to create NADRA. The petitioner was then appointed as director and served in the said position from March 10, 2000 till January 2003.

The petitioner retired from Pakistan Army in January 2003, after which he was inducted in NADRA on regular basis as director, he stated. The petitioner said that during his deputation and subsequent service in NADRA, he was one of a select core team which established and raised the authority to its current stature.

Meanwhile, the IHC will today resume hearing in a case regarding the sit in held at Faizabad interchange by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool.

A single bench of the IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui will hear the case. The judge had earlier directed the Secretary Defence to probe that how name of Chief of Army Staff had been used in the disputed agreement and identify the persons responsible for bringing embarrassment to the institution.

Justice Siddiqui had also noted in his order that in compliance with the court order dated November 27, 2017, the attorney general pointed out that since the matter was directly or indirectly pending before the Supreme Court, therefore; no further proceedings should be conducted in the case till final judgment of the SC. The bench stated that it would be appropriate that till final decision by the SC, no substantive order might be passed by the IHC.

However, reports sought on November 27 were submitted by the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Administration and joint director general of Intelligence Bureau (IB).

The IHC verdict said that when confronted with content of the agreement between the protesters and the government, the attorney general submitted that in order to make any statement about the same, he might be granted some time so that the matter might be taken up with relevant quarters to examine constitutionality and legality of the agreement.

In its verdict, the bench suggested two options, i.e. the so-called agreement might be referred to joint session of the Parliament for its appreciation, joint statement and to weigh it on the touchstone of the Constitution and law of the land, or the agreement might be placed before the federal cabinet including mediators for the same purpose. The attorney general had opted for the second option.

During the previous hearing, Justice Siddiqui had observed that each section of the agreement was unconstitutional.