LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued a notice to the Interior Ministry on a petition challenging suspension of national identity cards of 10 members of a family.

Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza passed the order on a petition moved by a citizen, Faqir Hussain. The petitioner had said the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) had blocked identity cards of 10 members of his family without any legal justification. He submitted that his family members had been facing difficulties in dealing with banks or getting jobs.  The petitioner submitted that securing a national identity card was the fundamental right of every citizen and one should not be deprived of his constitutionally guaranteed right without solid legal reasons.

A law officer opposed his petition, saying that Pakistani identity cards of several Afghans were got issued illegally on the basis of father’s identity card. He requested the court to dismiss the petition as Nadra had validly blocked the cards.

After hearing both sides, the judge directed the respondents, including the Interior Ministry, to submit replies.

Earlier, an application was moved to the Lahore High Court on Monday for action against Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Chairman Absar Alam for suspending transmissions of all private news channels during an operation against Faizabad protesters.

Amina Malik of Civil Society Network filed the plea, terming the act of the Pemra chairman a clear violation of Articles 19 and 19-A of the Constitution, which guarantee right to information. She said that role of the Pemra chairman had been partisan; it totally failed to function independently as required by the law. She said Pemra can stop channels only if they are covering something involving defamation, contempt of court or hate speech. She submitted that appointment of Alam as Pemra chief had already been challenged in the high court for being in violation law. She asked the court to declare the order of the media regulatory authority chairman as unlawful and order action against him.

On a separate petition against termination of a school teacher, the LHC issued a notice to the Punjab secretary of school education department and sought reply.

Shaukat Rauf moved the petition and submitted that he had been terminated without an opportunity of defence merely on a complaint lodged by a fellow teacher. The petitioner said he was a true Muslim having firm believe in finality of prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and had a PhD degree in Islamiat.

He submitted that his point of view was not heard by the authorities during departmental inquiry, which was in sheer violation of fundamental right of fair trial. He said the court had directed the respondent secretary to decide his departmental appeal against the termination but the order had not been complied with so far. The petitioner said the secretary committed contempt of court by not implementing the order and was liable to be punished under the relevant law.

After hearing initial arguments of the petitioner, Justice Jawad Hassan sought reply from the respondent secretary and adjourned the hearing for two weeks.