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IHC suspends NADRA’s decision to suspend Hafiz Hamdullah’s citizenship

The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday suspended National Database and Registration Authority’s (Nadra) decision to cancel the citizenship of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader and former senator Maulana Hafiz Hamdullah.Hearing a petition filed by the former senator and minister, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah sought a reply from Nadra within two weeks and directed the authority as well as the interior ministry not to take any sort of action against Hamdullah.

On Sunday, it was reported that Nadra declared Hamdullah an ‘alien’ after finding that he had ‘fraudulently obtained’ his computerised national identity card (CNIC), which was subsequently cancelled.

While the government decision had been taken two weeks prior, it came to the limelight only days before the JUI-F’s so-called ‘Azadi March’ on Islamabad. A notification issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) barring TV channels from inviting Hamdullah to talk shows as a guest had referred to a Nadra letter dated Oct 11.

Justice Minallah inquired about the whereabouts of Hamadullah’s children and was told that one of them was currently serving in the Pakistan Army.

“If a mother is willing to sacrifice her son for this soil, then how is her husband’s citizenship being doubted?” the IHC chief justice remarked.

The court also suspended the PEMRA notification barring Hamdullah from television appearances, stating that “only the federal government holds the authority to pass such an order”.

Hafiz Hamdullah has contested general assembly elections for six times. He remained a member of the Senate on a JUI-F ticket from March 2012 to March 2018. He had also been a health minister in the Balochistan cabinet from 2002 to 2006.

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