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October 18, 2020

Committee constituted to probe fake domiciles, Sindh High Court told

Karachi

October 18, 2020

A committee has been constituted for scrutinising the allegedly fake domiciles in Sindh, a provincial law officer told the Sindh High Court (SHC) in a case pertaining to fake domiciles in the province.

The law officer produced a notification with regard to the constitution of the committee that has been tasked with scrutinising the allegedly fake domiciles in Sindh.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) MPA Khawaja Izharul Hasan, one of the petitioners, questioned the competence of the committee, submitting that its members had no knowledge about fake and original domiciles. He submitted that a commission should be constituted to investigate the issuance of fake domiciles to non-residents of Karachi and other cities. He submitted that the provincial government had failed to take action against the issuance of fake domiciles to non-residents of Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, despite several complaints. He added that government jobs were sold out after the issuance of fake domiciles to non-residents while permanent residents of the urban Sindh, including Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur, were deprived of their rights.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar after taking the comments on record, adjourned the hearing on the request of the petitioner who wanted to go through the documents, and directed the office to fix the matter for November 2.

Hasan and other MPAs had submitted in the petition that non-residents of the city were being issued domiciles by the government which would deprive the people of Karachi of government employment.

They said domiciles and permanent residence certificates (PRCs) should not be issued to non-residents as it was the right of the residents of the city to apply for government jobs.

The petitioners maintained that non-residents had managed to obtain government jobs and admissions to professional universities on the basis of fake domiciles and PRCs on the urban quota, which deprived the citizens of Karachi of government jobs and admissions to professional colleges and universities.

A counsel for the petitioners submitted that the commissioner and deputy commissioners (DCs) had been informed about the issuance of fake domiciles and PRCs along with evidence; however, no action was taken against the responsible officers.

The lawyer submitted that the commissioner and DCs had given assurances that they would be vigilant in the future but brokers and agents were still facilitating the public at large in the issuance of fake domiciles and PRCs.

The counsel argued that it was the duty of the government to ensure transparency and merit in the government employment, and asked the SHC to direct the government to ensure that domiciles should not be issued to any non-resident. The high court was also requested to constitute a committee for scrutinising the domiciles and PRCs issued since 2008 till date.

The chief secretary had earlier filed comments on the petition mentioning that the certificate of domicile was issued under the Section 17 of the Pakistan Citizenship Act. He submitted that there was no specific number of people describing the urban population as people migrated to the urban areas in search of livelihood and education, etc. He submitted that if a person migrated to another district, surrendered the domicile of his previous district and proved his permanent abode in the new district to the satisfaction of the authority concerned, he shall be issued a domicile of the new district as provided under the rules.

The chief secretary submitted that the Section 17 of the Pakistan Citizenship Act and the Rule 23 of the Pakistan Citizenship Rules entitled the person making application in the prescribed manner containing the prescribed particulars for grant of such certificate that

the concerned authority (deputy commissioner) issued the same.

He submitted that as per the fixed 60 per cent rural and 40 per cent urban quota, every citizen of the relevant area had the equal right and opportunity to compete for the recruitment. He submitted that any person aggrieved by the grant of a certificate of domicile/PRC may prefer an appeal before the authority concerned for the cancellation of the document as per the law.

The chief secretary submitted that the citizenship rules provided investigation against a person if he obtained citizenship or domicile through fraud or false representation and if information of the person was found false and in that case the said person shall be prosecuted under the Section 177 of the Pakistan Penal Code. He requested the SHC to dismiss the petition as not maintainable in view of the existing rules which provided the legal forum for redressal of the grievances in the issuance of a domicile/PRC under the Rule 8 of the PRC Rule 1971.