ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court Friday adjourned hearing in all the three petitions challenging the appointment of Chairman of National Database and Registration Authority.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of the petitions and adjourned hearing in this matter till February 1 after petitioner’s counsel Hafiz Arafat partially concluded his arguments.

During the hearing, petitioners’ counsel Hafiz Arafat completed his argument. On the next hearing, the counsel for Chairman NADRA would give his arguments in this connection.

Earlier, all petitions were filed in the Sindh, Lahore, and Islamabad high courts but the same were clubbed together and now would be adjudicated by the capital’s high court.

The previous government had reappointed Usman Yousaf Mobin as NADRA Chief on February 8, 2018. However, three petitioners moved three various high courts of the country.

One petitioner Muhammad Rashid, who himself was a candidate for the post challenged the advertisement given for the post last year and contended that the age limit for the applicants mentioned in the advertisement was contrary to the NADRA Ordinance 2000. Notably, a number of people had challenged the appointment over the issue of age limit.

The federal government had set maximum age-limit for the applicants as 55 years contrary to the section 3 of NADRA Ordinance 2000 that states the retiring (maximum) age of authority’s chairman and members should be 65 years.

There is no mention of upper age limit for a candidate applying for NADRA’s coveted slot in the authority’s ordinance. However, the petitioner had claimed that the government rules stated the retirement age at 60 years while the NADRA chairman is appointed for a period of three years. Given the situation he claims that fixing age limit at 55 years is a fundamental rights violation.

Earlier, the age-limit issue was challenged by Lt Col (Retd) Muhammad Talha Saeed before the Islamabad High Court. However, the court had ordered the federal government to make Saeed part of the interview process as earlier his application was rejected by NADRA’s management as he was older than 55 years. On IHC’s order, interview of Saeed was conducted by the Interior Ministry.

Another individual Lt Col (Retd) Saiddiqullah had also challenged the upper age limit issue before the Islamabad High Court but later for ‘unknown’ reasons he withdrew his petition.

Through his petition, Muhammad Rasid challenged the advertisement published in the newspaper for inviting applications to the post of NADRA Chairman.

He said that NADRA Ordinance, 2000 there is no age limit for inviting applications for the post of Chairman, NADRA but federal government has fixed the age of 55 years (maximum). In his petition, the petitioner has sought ‘alike treatment’ for himself.