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February 12, 2020

Judicial probe sought into ‘sale of govt jobs on fake domicile certificates’

Karachi

February 12, 2020

A lawmaker has requested the Sindh High Court (SHC) to constitute a high-level commission to investigate the issuance of fake domicile certificates to non-residents of Karachi and other cities for providing them government jobs in different cities of the province.

Arguing on his petition on Tuesday, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) Khawaja Izharul Hasan said the Government of Sindh has failed to take action against the issuance of fake domicile certificates to non-residents of Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur despite several complaints.

Hasan said government jobs have been sold after the issuance of fake domicile certificates to non-residents, adding that permanent residents of urban Sindh, including Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, have been deprived of their due rights.

He requested the court to take action against government officials involved in issuing fake domicile certificates and to cancel all such documents of people who are working in different government departments on their basis.

After hearing the arguments, the SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar adjourned the hearing until March 4, directing the National Database & Registration Authority’s counsel to assist the court on the petition, which also sought devising of a policy regarding the issuance of domicile certificates.

Hasan and other MPAs said in the petition that the government is issuing domicile certificates to non-residents of Karachi and depriving the people of the city of government employments.

They said domicile certificates and permanent residence certificates (PRCs) should not be issued to non-residents because it is the right of the locals to apply for government jobs.

They also said that non-residents manage to get government jobs and admissions to professional colleges and universities on the urban quota on the basis of fake domicile certificates and PRCs, depriving the locals of government jobs and admissions to professional educational institutions.

The petitioners’ counsel said the commissioner and deputy commissioners have been informed about the issuance of fake domicile certificates and PRCs along with evidence, but no action has been taken against the officers responsible.

The counsel also said the commissioner and DCs have made assurances of being vigilant in future, but brokers and agents are still facilitating people in the issuance of fake domicile certificates and PRCs.

He argued that it is the duty of the government to ensure transparency and merit in government employment, requesting the SHC to direct the government to ensure that no domicile certificate is issued to a non-resident.

He also requested the high court to constitute a committee for scrutinising the domicile certificates and PRCs that have been issued from 2008 to date.

The provincial chief secretary had earlier filed comments on the petition mentioning that domicile certificates were issued under Section 17 of the Pakistan Citizenship Act (PCA).

He said that there is no specific number of people describing the urban population, as people migrate to urban areas in search of livelihood, employment and education, etc.

He added that if a person migrates to another district, surrenders the domicile of the previous district and proves his permanent abode in the new district to the satisfaction of the authority concerned, they shall be issued a domicile certificate of the new district as provided under the rules.

The CS said Section 17 of the PCA and Rule 23 of the Pakistan Citizenship Rules entitle the applicants in the prescribed manner containing the prescribed particulars for the issuing of such a certificate by the authority concerned (deputy commissioner).

He said that in accordance with the fixed quota — 60 per cent for rural and 40 per cent for urban — every citizen of the relevant area has the equal right and opportunity to compete for recruitment.

He added that any person aggrieved by the issuance of a domicile certificate or a PRC can appeal before the authority concerned for the cancellation in accordance with the law.

The CS said the citizenship rules provide investigation against a person if they obtain citizenship or domicile through fraud or false representation, and if the information of that person is found to be false, they shall be prosecuted under Section 177 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

He requested that the court dismiss the petition as not maintainable in view of the existing rules that provide a legal forum to redress the grievances in the issuance of a domicile certificate or a PRC under Rule 8 of the PRC Rules 1971.