ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday issued notices to the federal interior secretary, Punjab home secretary, State Bank of Pakistan governor and others on a petition filed by MPA Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi seeking removal of his name from the fourth schedule.

IHC judge Mohsin Akhtar Kayani while taking up the petition directed the respondents to submit their replies.

The fourth schedule is a section of Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) under which someone who is suspected of terrorism is kept under observation. It is mandatory for him to register his attendance with the local police regularly. Jhangvi, who is a Member of Punjab Assembly from PP-78 Jhang, has moved the petition challenging an order of 2014 under which his name was placed on the fourth schedule. He has cited the Federation of Pakistan through the secretary Ministry of Interior, the Punjab home secretary, the State Bank of Pakistan governor and the Nadra chairman as respondents.

The MPA, whose slain father Haq Nawaz Jhangvi headed the sectarian banned outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba, approached the court through his counsel Tariq Asad and prayed to issue directives for removal of his name from government’s list of terror suspects. His name was placed in the fourth schedule of the ATA, 1997 on May 9, 2014.

Masroor, after his victory in the PP-78 Jhang-II by-poll in 2016, joined the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) after objections were raised over his affiliation with the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba (renamed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat). His counsel said that his client had been deprived of his identity.

“The interior ministry has sealed his [Masroor’s] identity card and he can’t open or operate a bank account and draw his salary,” he said. He maintained, “Even though he is an elected representative and a legislator of the provincial assembly, my client can’t even sign an agreement or make a transaction of any kind.”

In his petition, Masroor submitted that his affiliation with a reputed party such as the JUI-F proved that he was not involved in any terrorist activity and should not be listed in the fourth schedule.

The petitioner further told the court that he had never been convicted by a court or nominated in any criminal case.

His counsel contended that the Election Commission of Pakistan had declared Masroor eligible for running in the election and that certified that he possessed all the qualities described in the clauses of the Article 62 of the Constitution.

“The grounds to be listed in the fourth schedule do not apply to him,” Asad said. “Three years have passed since his name was placed on the list despite the submission of a security bond as envisaged in the Section 11EE (Proscription of person) of the ATA.”

Under the 11EE of the ATA, the federal government may list a person as proscribed in the fourth schedule if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are affiliated with a group involved in terrorist or sectarian activities. He has prayed to the court to direct the respondents to remove his name from the fourth schedule and NADRA may be directed to restore his CNIC.