ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday said all adult Pakistanis should obtain the computerised national identity card (CNIC) because it is mandatory to cast vote in the next elections.
He also appealed to political parties to cooperate with the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) by identifying the people who still did not have CNICs.
Mr Ashraf was talking to Nadra chairman Mohammad Tariq Malik who called on him here at the Prime Minister’s House.
Mr Malik briefed the prime minister about the progress made so far about the issuance of CNICs. Mr Ashraf directed the Nadra chairman to launch an awareness campaign to persuade people to get CNICs so that they were not disenfranchised.
The prime minister said the government was committed to holding free, fair and impartial elections and Nadra should, therefore, ensure that all people of voting age obtained their CNICs.
“The first card is issued free of cost and millions of people have availed the facility, so there should be no reason not to have the CNIC,” an official quoted Mr Ashraf as saying.
The prime minister praised Nadra and said he was happy to note that Pakistan had emerged as one of the few countries where more than 90 per cent of the adult population had been registered.
The Nadra chairman informed Mr Ashraf that the authority had embarked on a crash drive to reach out to all unregistered people and issue them CNICs on a war-footing by using unconventional methods. Nadra was making all-out efforts to get all voters registered before the next elections, he said.
Mr Malik said Nadra would focus mainly on registering the womenfolk and catching up with all unregistered people in Sindh and Balochistan.
He told the prime minister that he had personally approached 193 political parties and asked them to help Nadra identify unregistered voters who did not have CNICs.
Mr Malik said Nadra had forged partnerships with NGOs to run a localised, focused and targeted public awareness campaign to persuade people to obtain CNICs. The authority would also conduct local women ‘melas’ to tell women about benefits of having a CNIC, he added.
The prime minister approved the Nadra’s plan.
Mr Malik told Mr Ashraf that Nadra was making all-out efforts to extend its data acquisition units to people’s doorsteps and perform registration operations through mobile units.
Nadra has 452 national registration centres, 252 mobile registration vans and 70 semi-mobile units and 11 women-only centres countrywide.
The Nadra chairman informed the prime minister that 99.5 per cent of voters had so far been registered in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 99 per cent in Punjab, 89 per cent in Gilgit-Baltistan, 88 per cent in Sindh and Fata and 76 per cent in Balochistan. He said 15,000 people on an average were added to Nadra database daily as CNIC holders.
“Four years ago, less than 50 per cent of womenfolk were registered, but today we have hit the 86 per cent mark,” he said.
A meeting with the representatives of all minorities would also be held to discuss how to make the issuance of CNIC easy and speedy for them, Mr Malik said. “Nadra is reaching out to the minorities so that they can exercise their right to vote after getting the CNIC.”
He said a letter had been written to all political parties emphasising that their outreach and presence across the country provided an opportunity to Nadra to access pockets of population that remained unregistered.
The political parties had been urged to especially identify womenfolk who were not registered as yet, he said.