Agencies ‘helping’ foreigners get CNIC, Senate Committee told
ISLAMABAD: Since its establishment in 2000, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) has detected thousands of cases of foreigners acquiring Pakistani Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs).
The authority blocks such cards, the first step towards their cancellation, and sends their data to the Intelligence Bureau and Special Branch of police for verification.
However, it has to unblock most of the cards after the agencies declare that the card holders are Pakistani nationals, not foreigners. Ironically, Nadra has no mandate to challenge the clearance report.
This came to the fore at a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior on Tuesday. The meeting was presided over by Muhammad Talha Mehmood of JUI-F and attended by members Mukhtiar Ahmed Dhamrah, Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of MQM and Pervaiz Rashid of PML-N. Senator Afrasiab Khattak of ANP and Hafiz Hamdullah of the JUI-F attended the meeting on special invitation.
Nadra director general Mir Alam Khan told the meeting that the authority had blocked CNICs of 27,000 foreigners over the past 12 years but the agencies cleared almost 90 per cent of the cases sent to them for verification.
“Since Nadra is not an investigation agency, we have to depend on the reports of the agencies,” he added.
Mr Khan said the foreigners had used forged documents like birth or education certificates to obtain CNICs. Besides, he said, the country did not have any concept of work permit so foreigners got employment here and after some years they used documents relating to their jobs while applying for CNICs.
A representative of Special Branch said that since 2011 27,286 cases had been referred to the agency of which 22,777 had been verified. “The agency has around 600 employees and it is difficult for it to complete the task with such a small staff,” he said.
Director, Counter-Intelligence, IB, Sher Khan, said from May 2011 to May 2012, the IB had sent 1,093 cases of fake CNICs to the ministry of interior for action against the holders of the cards.
Talha Mehmood said that officials of Special Branch and IB received bribes from foreigners for clearance of their cases. As a result even terrorists and suspected persons obtained CNICs.
“Afghan nationals can acquire nationality of Pakistan but after following a lengthy process which takes one and half years to complete. Therefore, they use a shortcut,” he said.
“I have a list of 7,000 Afghans who have obtained Pakistani CNICs. There are reports that the Special Branch declared a person an Afghan national but the IB refuted the claim or vice versa,” he said.