IT is a discovery that ought to cause more worry than is what is currently visible. Access to fake driving and weapons’ licences, identity and travel documents, etc can facilitate crimes that range from terrorism to human smuggling to remaining unidentified after a traffic violation. It was thought that the creation of the National Database and Registration Authority, which in many respects has been a success story, and the changeover to computerised documents would plug many of the gaps. Yet the police had an inkling that forged documents were in circulation since many times during verification certain individuals had remained untraceable on Nadra’s database. Their fears turned out to be well-founded when an operative of a gang involved in forgery was arrested in Islamabad. Subsequently, the police uncovered a network that specialises in forging crucial documents. And it seems that this is only the tip of the iceberg, for the arrested man told the police that the gang has separate wings in different cities; the main operators of the gang remain undiscovered which is disturbing to say the least.
The investigation instituted by law-enforcement agencies should be lent urgency by the fact that terrorists apparently have obtained fake identification papers and arms licences in large numbers from different operatives of the gang. Wherever documents of the type that the gang is known to have replicated are required to be produced, such as at airports or cellphone outlets issuing Sims, more stringent checks need to be put in place immediately. Reportedly, it was very difficult to identify the differences between 30 documents recovered during the operation and the authentic article. Further, Nadra must step up its campaign to have people switch to its new Smart national ID card, which is chip-based and would be much harder to forge.