Pakistan: Sworn affidavits, including appearance and security features, requirements and procedure to obtain, and cost (2018–March 2021) [PAK200448.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Obtaining a Sworn Affidavit in Pakistan
1.1 Requirements and Procedures

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a Pakistan-based human rights consultant and advocate of the High Court described the following procedure to obtain an affidavit according to the Stamp Act, 1899 [(Act II of 1899)]: visit a "stamp paper vendor" authorized by the government, provide the vendor with a copy of an ID card or a "recent" photograph, and sign or place a thumbprint on the stamp register; the stamp paper vendor then issues a sworn affidavit ("stamp paper") (Human Rights Consultant 18 Jan. 2021). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a law firm based in Pakistan, whose practice areas include commercial law, stated that an individual giving an affidavit (a "deponent") must obtain a "non-judicial stamp paper" for the affidavit from a licensed vendor (Pakistan-based law firm 28 Jan. 2021). The same source provided the following information about the procedure to obtain the non-judicial stamp paper:

[i]n order to give an affidavit, a non-judicial stamp paper is required to be obtained from a licensed vendor on which the contents of affidavit is to be written. The stamp paper can be purchased from any of the licensed stamp vendors either by the deponent … or through the [deponent's] authorized agent.

While purchasing the non-judicial stamp paper from the licensed vendor, the deponent/authorized representative has to provide [their] Computerized National Identity Card Number (CNIC), which the vendor has to record in [their] register alongside the thumb impression of the deponent. The stamp vendor [places their] stamp upon the stamp paper and put[s] the following details therein:

  1. Date of issuance of the stamp paper;
  2. Its serial number;
  3. Value;
  4. Name of the deponent/authorized person, [their] father's/husband's name and address;
  5. Purpose for which the [s]tamp paper is bought. (Pakistan-based law firm 28 Jan. 2021)

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa similarly indicated that a CNIC, as proof of Pakistani nationality, is required to obtain a sworn affidavit and that affidavits can be obtained from registered notary publics (Pakistan 9 Feb. 2021). The Pakistan-based law firm stated that the affidavit is written or typed on the stamp paper (Pakistan-based law firm 28 Jan. 2021). Sources added that an oath commissioner or a notary public administers an oath (Pakistan-based law firm 28 Jan. 2021) or provides an attestation of the affidavit (Human Rights Consultant 18 Jan. 2021).

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a law firm based in Karachi, whose practice areas include commercial law, indicated that according to the Oaths Act, 1873, an individual is required to sign an affidavit before an oath commissioner (Karachi-based law firm 30 Jan. 2021). The same source further stated that if an affidavit will be sent outside of Pakistan, it "needs to be sworn before a notary public" and "attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as per [the] requirements of the [receiving] country" (Karachi-based law firm 30 Jan. 2021). The website of Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that an attestation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or its offices in Lahore, Karachi, Quetta or Peshawar, is required for documents "originating in Pakistan" (Pakistan n.d.).

1.2 Appearance and Security Features

The representative of the High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa indicated that affidavits are issued on stamp paper with a yellow background, with different rupee values ranging from 50 to 1000 Pakistani rupees (PKR) [C$0.40 to C$7.93] (Pakistan 9 Feb. 2021). The same source added that the affidavit includes a bar code on the upper front side of the affidavit (Pakistan 9 Feb. 2021).

However, the Pakistan-based law firm explained the following:

There are no security features such as bar codes on the stamp paper itself; however, the authenticity of the stamp paper can be ascertained by checking the register of the stamp vendor (named at the back of the stamp paper), from whom the non-judicial stamp paper was purchased. From the register, one can get the following details: name and CNIC of the stamp paper purchaser, serial number of the stamp paper issued and its date and purpose of issuance.

The oath[s] on affidavits are administered either by the oath commissioner or the notary public.

Sec. 8 of the Notaries Ordinance, 1961 gives the power to notary publics to administer oath[s] to or take affidavit[s] from any person in relation to matter[s] connected with commercial and mercantile documents under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881.

The Home Department [of] the Government of the Punjab, in its circular letter No. 5/9-HJUDICIAL (II)/62. dated 18th January, 1963, clarified that [a] notary public is not competent to attest affidavits to be used or produced before any officer or court, including a passport officer, and the Settlement Department. It further elaborated in circular letter No. 5/9-H-Judl: (II)/62 dated 26-11-1966 that [a] notary public can only administer [an] oath or attest an affidavit in respect [to] the verification, authentication, certification, attestation or the execution of any instrument, promissory notes, Hundi or Bill of Exchange and to note the acceptance, non-acceptance or non-payment of any of those instruments.

Thus, checking the license of the oath commissioner/notary public and its validity thereof, is also a way to determine the proper administration of the affidavit. It may [also] be noted that these notary publics/oath commissioners are ordinarily sitting within the premises of the courts. (Pakistan-based law firm 28 Jan. 2021)

The Karachi-based law firm noted that the oath commissioner does not keep a record of the sworn affidavit (Karachi-based law firm 30 Jan. 2021).

The Human Rights Consultant indicated that there are "different design[s] of stamp papers in Pakistan" (Human Rights Consultant 18 Jan. 2021). The Pakistan-based law firm noted that the contents of the affidavit may vary depending on the requirements of the office receiving the affidavit (Pakistan-based law firm 28 Jan. 2021). The same source further stated the following:

As per Serial No. 4, Schedule I of the Stamp Act, 1899 [1], the minimum stamp duty of an affidavit is Rs. 50 [PKR]. It may be the case that the stamp paper [costing] Rs. 50 may not be available; in such an event, the deponent can have a stamp paper of higher value.

It may [also] be noted that where the affidavit is to be submitted before the courts in Pakistan, then, there is no need of it being on a non-judicial stamp paper. It can be written on a plain paper, but it is to be attested by the oath commissioner. (Pakistan-based law firm 28 Jan. 2021)

The Karachi-based law firm similarly explained that when stamp papers of 50 PKR are unavailable, affidavits can be printed on stamp papers of higher value (Karachi-based law firm 30 Jan. 2021). According to the representation of the High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa, the choice between stamp papers of different values depends on the "subject value of the property [or] matter" (Pakistan 9 Feb. 2021).

The English sample and French translation of a sworn affidavit issued in 2019 on non-judicial stamp paper, with English and French translations of a stamp in Urdu that appeared on the reverse of the page, provided by the Pakistan-based law firm, are attached to this Response (Attachment 1) [originally in colour but rendered in black and white in the attached version]. There are two stamps of the oath commissioner on the first page, placed on the top and bottom left corners. The fingerprint of the deponent and the deponent's signature [redacted to remove personal information] appear above the word "Deponent" at the bottom right of the first page. The stamp in Urdu on the back of the page contains the stamp seller's information: the categories of information are part of the stamp itself, while the information specific to the seller is handwritten; the signature of the stamp vendor appears at the bottom left of the stamp.

The English sample and French translation of an affidavit issued in 2020, provided by the Karachi-based law firm, are attached to this Response (Attachment 2). The English sample and French translation of an affidavit issued in 2015, provided by the Karachi-based law firm, are attached to this Response (Attachment 3).

1.3 Cost of an Affidavit

According to the representative of the High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa, the cost of a sworn affidavit ranges from 50 to 1000 PKR, and that the upper limit of the affidavit "varies according to the subject matter" (Pakistan 9 Feb. 2021). The Pakistan-based law firm indicated that the cost of a non-judicial stamp paper is between 50 and 150 PKR "depending on the value of the available stamp paper," and the fee of the oath commissioner is approximately 10 PKR per page of the affidavit (Pakistan-based law firm 28 Jan. 2021). Without providing further details, the Karachi-based law firm stated that oath commissioners have "their own scale of fees" (Karachi-based law firm 30 Jan. 2021). The same source noted that receipts are not issued for the fees paid for an affidavit (Karachi-based law firm 30 Jan. 2021).

2. Attestation of a Sworn Affidavit from Diplomatic Missions of Pakistan in Canada

According to the website of the Consulate General of Pakistan in Vancouver, the requirements to attest an affidavit are as follows:

  1. Du[ly] filled in Contact Information Form
  2. Power of Attorney/Affidavit
    Original power of attorney/affidavit must be submitted along with a photocopy.
    With effect from 1st February 2017[,] the person executing the power of attorney/affidavit must sign the document in our presence at the Consulate. The Power of Attorney must be signed at each page by the Executant.
    Each executant must attach a colour photograph of himself/herself. Failure to provide photograph[(s)] will result in your application being returned.
    One colour photograph is required from each witness (if available).
    Instructions
    • Your photograph[(s)] will be attested in our office. Notarization from a notary public or lawyer is not required.
    • Photograph must be duly stamped with the date by a photographer in Canada.
    • Photograph must be taken within the past three months.
    • The size of the photo to be submitted is 70 mm (2 3/4 in.) height by 50 mm (2 in.) width with a light blue or white background.
    One of the following is required: valid Pakistan passport or valid CNIC/NICOP [National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis]
    Instructions:
    Original identification must be submitted along with a photocopy.
    Photocopying instructions:
    *Please ensure that photocopy of your identification is copied in the following manner.
    Photocopy of your valid manual Pakistan passport must contain the first, four pages [sic]. Photocopy of your valid machine[-]readable Pakistan[i] passport must be copied on the first page where all your information is.
    Photocopy of valid CNIC/NICOP must contain the front and back of the card.
  3. Return envelope (mandatory in some cases)
    Applicants applying in person who wis[h] to have documents returned by mail must enclose a return envelope with their application.
    Envelope preparation instructions:
    • The envelope must be self-addressed with a to and from address.
    • The envelope must be pre-paid.
  4. Fee Table:
    One continuous document (i.e. same document subject) of the 1st three pages
    - CAD 20.00
    If continuous document (i.e. same document subject) exceeds the first continuous three pages[,] [the] fee will be an additional
    - CAD 20.00 per page
    Documents that are not continuous (i.e. not the same document subject)
    - CAD 20.00 per document containing 1st three continuous pages.
    - If document exceeds the first continuous three pages[,] [the] fee will be an additional CAD 20.00 per page.

(Pakistan 26 Jan. 2017, 2-3, emphasis in original)

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Note

[1] Serial Number 4 in Schedule I of the Stamp Act, 1899 (Act II of 1899), as amended by the Punjab Finance Act, 2014, provides that the stamp duty of an affidavit is 50 Pakistani rupees (PKR) (Pakistan 1899).

References

Human Rights Consultant. 18 January 2021. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Karachi-based law firm. 30 January 2021. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Pakistan. 9 February 2021. High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa, Canada. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.

Pakistan. 26 January 2017. Consulate General of Pakistan in Vancouver. Attestations. [Accessed 4 Feb. 2021]

Pakistan. 1899 (amended 2020). The Stamp Act, 1899 (Act II of 1899). [Accessed 4 Feb. 2021]

Pakistan. N.d. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Attestation of Documents & Legalization." [Accessed 3 Feb. 2021]

Pakistan-based law firm. 28 January 2021. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Pakistan – Consulate General of Pakistan in Toronto, Consulate General of Pakistan in Vancouver.

Internet sites, including: Pakistan – Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Law and Justice.

Attachments

  1. Pakistan. 2019. "Affidavit." Sent to the Research Directorate by a Pakistan-based law firm, 28 January 2021. Excerpts translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada.
  2. Pakistan. 2020. District Courts Karachi East. "Affidavit of No Objection to Application." Sent to the Research Directorate by a Karachi-based law firm, 30 January 2021. French version translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada.
  3. Pakistan. 2015. "Affidavit." Sent to the Research Directorate by a Karachi-based law firm, 30 January 2021. French version translated by the Translation Bureau, Public Services and Procurement Canada.

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