Overseas Pakistanis are as much citizens of Pakistan as anyone else is, and if report of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation, Pakistan is something to go by, about 9 million Pakistanis are living abroad and are a great source of funnelling huge amount of remittances back home, constituting a substantial chunk of economic backbone of Pakistan.
The Lahore High Court Lahore being the oldest judicial institution in Asia, has always taken initiative in redressing grievances of the public at large, battling human rights breaches, and addressing great questions of tomorrow. In the similar fashion, it has, lately, gone an extra mile helping to ensure the speedy disposal of cases of overseas Pakistanis through innumerable policy initiatives taken in this connection, including and not limited to marking of cases to special judges, setting a fixed time limit to conclude matters pending adjudications, operationalization of awareness outlets e.g. "Sahulat Centre" (2016) so on and so forth. Annexing paramount importance to the problems of overseas litigants, the recent giant leap, in this regard, has been a momentous decision taken by the then Hon'ble Chief Justice Mr. Justice Sardar Muhammad Shamim Khan to establish an Overseas Pakistanis Cell commonly known as (OPC-LHC), to operate under the supervision of a Director, Secretary and supporting staff, for resolution of problems of Expatriate Pakistanis regarding their pending litigations in the courts of largest Province of Pakistan i.e. Punjab.
Special Benches at the level of High Court, comprising Hon’ble Mr. Justice Shujaat Ali Khan (Civil and Constitutional Matters), Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ch. Muhammad Masood Jahangir (Civil Matters) & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Jawad Hassan (Constitutional, Commercial & Foreign Awards Matters) have been constituted to deal with all the pending cases pertaining to overseas Pakistanis in this Court.
Hon'ble Mr. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, the then Hon'ble Chief Justice of this Court had also taken keen and practical interest in resolving problems of Overseas Pakistanis by holding series of meetings with the Governor, Punjab, Overseas Pakistanis Commission and other stake-holders to identify issues and find their solution. As a result of this, a window was opened for the Overseas Pakistanis in the already established "Sahulat Center" at the Directorate of District Judiciary.
Objectives of OPC-LHC:
The Cell takes care of following aspects of the cases of Overseas Pakistanis:-
- Illegal possession of their properties in Punjab or any threats thereof;
- Inordinate delay in decision of their cases;
- Frauds regarding properties purchased by them;
- Inability to pursue their court cases from abroad and hurdles in employing counsel;
- An online web portal is developed to address the queries of the overseas litigants in this connection to the extent of Lahore High Court, Lahore.
- The Director and the Secretary of the Cell maintains a constant liaison and interaction with the Overseas Pakistani litigants in order to facilitate them and to apprise them about the status of their pending cases. In this regard, all branches of this Court including IT Branch-LHC extend complete support to the cell, whenever needed.
MODE OF RECEIVING COMPLAINTS AT OPC-LHC:
- An aggrieved overseas Pakistani litigant or any person on his behalf can approach the OPC-LHC:
- In person/through Attorney/authorized agent
- Through e-mail
- Web Portal at official website of Lahore High Court
- Through Post/Courier
- Through whatsapp of especially designated number
- Through Overseas Pakistani Commission, Punjab
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO BE ATATCHED WITH APPLICATION/COMPLAINT
- Copy of Valid Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC).
- Copy of Valid National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP).
- Copy of Pakistan Origin Card (POC).
- Copy of Valid Foreign Passport / Iqama.
- Copy of Valid Visa / Residence / Nationality Card.
- Contact no. of focal person in Pakistan (if any).
- Complete details of pending litigation in the Court(s).