SHC orders cancellation of over 50,000 POs’ passports, CNICs

By Jamal Khurshid
October 03, 2023

The Sindh High Court on Monday directed the interior ministry to cancel the passports and national identity cards of over 50,000 proclaimed offenders (POs) involved in criminal cases in the province.

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During a hearing of the matter pertained to the extradition of a former incharge of the MQM’s Karachi Tanzeemi Committee, Hammad Siddiqui, in the Baldia factory fire case, a division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha, was informed by the IGP that there were 50,058 proclaimed offenders in the province.

The court had directed the IGP and the prosecutor general to submit a detailed report on POs who were still at large and whether any of them had fled the country.

Filing a report in the court, IGP Riffat Mukhtar Raja that of the 50,058 POs in Sindh, 23,257 accused were declared proclaimed offenders by Larkana district courts, 6,102 by Karachi’s District East courts, 4,252 by District South courts, 1,908 by District West courts, 6,282 by District Hyderabad courts, 536 by District Mirpurkhas courts, 2,126 by District Benaziarabad courts, 4,987 by District Sukkur courts and 608 by the Sindh CTD.

He said five persons -- Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain, Adeel, Khalil Ahmed, Rashid Iqbal and Adnan Chiwara -- were declared proclaimed offenders by courts and were residing in London, Saudia Arabia, Germany and Dubai.

The high court observed that the huge number of proclaimed offenders shows an extraordinary lack of efforts and commitment on the part of the police.

It directed the home department to make copies of such details and send them to the ministry of interior, the National Database Registration Authority and the State Bank of Pakistan, and to cancel the passports and national identity cards of the POs, and block their bank accounts.

The court directed the IGP to submit a report as to how many POs had been arrested and to ensure the arrest of other POs.The court was informed that the CINCs of Hammad Siddiqui, Syed Taqi Haider Shah and Khurrum Nisar had been cancelled, and circulars had been issued to the banks to freeze their bank accounts.

The court was informed that the ministry of foreign affairs was awaiting the response from the UAE authorities with regard to extradition of Taqi.

Regarding the extraction of Swedish national Khurrum Nisar, the court was informed that Swedish authorities had sought mutual legal assistance from Pakistan for the prosecution of Khurrum in Sweden with regard to the offence he committed in Pakistan. The court directed a ministry of interior official to submit a report on what steps had been taken to assist the Swedish government in providing legal assistance for the prosecution of Khurrum Nisar.

For fire safety arrangements in the factories, the court directed the secretary labour and the secretary law to ensure that SOPs of health, safety and adequate firefighting equipment in respect of each factory in Karachi are finalized and followed. The court directed the all officials concerned to submit their compliance reports by October 23.

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