LAHORE The artists are likely to move the Supreme Court against the announcement made by Interior Minister Rehman Malik that artists traveling abroad would be required to obtain 'No Objection Certificate from the government. Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club on Friday, the artists including Madeeha Gauhar from Ajoka Theatre, Usman, Faizan and Samina Peerzada from Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop, Samina Ahmed, Naeem Tahir, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Ali Noor and Salman Shahid said the announcement comes as a huge disappointment to all those who were fighting for a liberal and democratic Pakistan. Indeed, it takes us right back to the Zia era when such NOCs were the norm. It is disappointing that the PPP government should even consider such possibility, leave aside expound it publicly, they added. They further said they found this announcement retrogressive, repressive, arbitrary and violation of fundamental rights protected by the Constitution. They said the government had absolutely no right to restrict movement of persons who were not even employed by the government, adding that the declaration clearly lacks any rationale and was patently malafide. We would therefore defy it, as all void orders lacking legal basis should be dealt with. We also reserve the right to agitate this matter directly before the SC for enforcement of our fundamental rights. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed disgust and alarm over the introduction of restrictions by Islamabad for Pakistanis traveling to India, coming into effect from March 15, and called the move contrary to basic human rights and a bid to put the clock back. A statement issued by HRCP said, The government has made the decision to regulate visits abroad of public servants, artists and journalists 'in the interest of Pakistans security and to safeguard the countrys prestige. The government has also said that the rule will apply to the students going abroad on scholarship. Ridiculous decisions such as this are precisely why the security and prestige of the country are where they are. Not only is the decision bound to be counterproductive in a region where the people have long suffered because of the iron curtain that regional borders have become, but the mandatory requirement to obtain no-objection certificate from the Interior Ministry before being allowed to travel abroad also violates basic human rights, particularly provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. HRCP urges the government to reconsider the move instead of misinterpreting any single incident to put the clock back.