The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Friday reserved the decision in a petition filed against awarding a contract to a US firm for provision of lamination paper to the department of immigration and passports for making machine-readable passports.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui reserved the judgement after a representative of US firm Security Laminates Opsec briefed the judge in his chamber about the security features of lamination paper being imported in Pakistan.

Besides the representative of the US company, Deputy Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Jehangiri was also present in the chamber during the in-camera briefing while the counsel for the petitioner remained in the courtroom on this occasion.

Earlier after hearing the arguments of both the sides, the court had directed the US firm to give in-camera briefing about the security features of its lamination paper being imported in Pakistan.

Giving his arguments, Advocate Salman Akram Raja, the counsel for petitioner, management of Reliance Company, a French firm, had contended that security features of lamination paper of his company are better than that of the American firm.

However, the US firm Security Laminates Opsec's counsel Advocate Maqbool Elahi negated this claim of French firm.

Salman Akran had raised the objection over in-camera briefing but the court rejected his objection.

It is pertinent to mention here that earlier Director General (DG) Immigration and Passport Zulfiqar Cheema had appeared before the court and informed about the irregularities committed by former interior minister Rehman Malik in the department.

Zulfiqar Cheema informed the court that in the past, blue passports were issued to the people who were not entitled for it and the same were issued even to workers of cycle repairing shop on the directives of former interior minister but the present administration had cancelled these passports.

In this petition, the management of Reliance Company had moved the court against awarding a contract to a US firm for provision of lamination paper to the Department of Immigration and Passports for making machine-readable passports.

The company had challenged awarding the contract to the US company, Security Laminates Opsec. He contended that the contract was awarded in violation of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules.

Reliance Company Chief Executive Officer Sameer Baig, through his counsel maintained in the petition that his client got the highest points for quality when its lamination paper was sent to a laboratory after the immigration department and the interior ministry sought bids for paper for passports through an advertisement. But later, the contract was awarded to the US company without informing his client.