ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday directed all four provincial governments to manage the registration of orphans throughout the country while extending cooperation to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
A three-member bench of the top court headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani and whose other members were Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Mushir Alam issued the directive during the hearing of the petition of renowned social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi, who has called for the registration of orphans. While assisting the court Tariq Mehmood pleaded that Islam has always preached the betterment and care of the orphans, but it does not allow anyone to assume parentage of orphans.
Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that the people formulate the state, and “orphans are the responsibility of the state and the state stands accountable” in this regard. Afnan Kundi, the counsel for NADRA, submitted the authority’s report before the apex court and informed the court that for the registration of orphans NADRA had prepared a comprehensive report in 2012-13. He told the court that NADRA has taken practical steps to resolve the orphans’ registration issue since 2006.
He submitted that NADRA has been focusing on the registration of children, especially those residing in orphanages. Kundi informed the apex court that NADRA wrote letters to about 31 institutions in accordance with the list provided by the Ministry of Social Welfare to register the organisations with NADRA. He added that only 610 orphans were registered with NADRA, and about 3,087 children are still not registered with the authority.
He said that during policy formulation the issue of naming the parents of the children with fake names has been tackled, and in this connection the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) was consulted and a decree was sought from Saudi Arabia and Iran to resolve the issue of unknown parentage. He said NADRA has made the registration process easier, and added that the authority has issued smart cards for orphans living in Pakistan Baitul Maal Sweet Homes. This card will carry others features like vaccination record, education record and financial transactions.
According to NADRA orphan policy every citizen in or outside Pakistan who has attained 18 years age shall register himself with the authority. After hearing the arguments the court directed the implementation of NADRA policy and disposed of the petition.
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