ISLAMABAD, Nov 7: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on Wednesday announced that it would provide Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC) to people with unknown parentage.
A handout issued by Nadra’s media wing quoted the chairman of the registration authority, Tariq Malik, as saying: “Children without known parentage will have the fundamental right to be the citizen of Pakistan and get an identity card under Section 9 of Nadra Ordinance 2000.
“The fundamental rights, however, are not accorded to children with unknown parentage. With the completion of registration process of orphanages, no individual (orphan) can be deprived of his/her fundamental rights as ensured by the constitution of the country,” the Nadra’s press release quoted its chairman as saying.
Obaid Abbasi, a lawyer of civil court, talking to Dawn, said at present children living in orphanages all over the country were not issued identity cards by Nadra when they reached the age of 18 years, though they are counted in population census.
But after issuance of CNIC, the children would not only get a right to vote but would be eligible for all the fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution, he said.
Mr Abbasi maintained: “The fundamental rights include equal status and opportunity, social, economic and political justice and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association.”
While talking to Dawn, the Nadra chairman, Tariq Malik, said the matter was in the Supreme Court where Abdus Sattar Edhi had filed an application in 2010 seeking registration of orphans.
According to Edhi Home sources, some 15,000 babies have been dropped in cradles placed outside the Edhi homes during the last two decades.
Mr Malik said the matter had now been taken up on the advice of President Asif Ali Zardari and MNA Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, and the apex court would be informed accordingly.
He claimed that Nadra had already started updating its software in this regard and would issue CNIC to the orphans after thorough scrutiny.
Commenting on the process of registration of the children he explained: “We have decided to register all the children residing in orphanages, and issue B-Forms for children under 18 and CNICs for those 18 and above.”
Mr Malik maintained that the father’s name of the children living in orphanages would be suggested by the head of the orphanage.
He said those 18 or above of unknown parentage will have to bring notables from the area they have lived for a time to certify that they knew the person.
Meanwhile, Nadra in its press release maintained that it had taken all religious scholars in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, including the Council of Islamic Ideology on board on the issue and is set to start automating the data collecting process of orphans.
“Prior to the registration of orphans, all the orphanages of the country are liable to be registered with Nadra,” said the press release.
Nadra asked all the orphanages to send all relative information to it by November 30, 2012.