EVERY country keeps a strict watch over foreign nationals entering its territory to ensure that aliens operate within the conditions stipulated by their visas. We would have thought that Pakistan has more reason than most to keep an eye on the movement of foreign nationals. Two pieces of information that emerged last week, however, indicate that not only does there appear to be insufficient oversight where foreigners are concerned, parts of the official machinery are through negligence or simple corruption actually colluding in taking the state for a ride. A recent field survey conducted by the Special Branch of the Punjab Police found that there are 444 foreign students in madressahs across the province, of which 289 do not hold valid documents or visas. Meanwhile, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior was informed a week ago that over the past 12 years, the National Database and Registration Authority has detected more than 27,000 cases of foreigners having acquired, by hook or by crook, computerised Nadra identity cards, which can legally be possessed by Pakistanis alone. But when these cases were forwarded to the Intelligence Bureau or the police’s Special Branch, as per procedure, nearly 23,000 were returned as verified. The Nadra director general complained that his organisation is not mandated to challenge the clearance report; while a police representative complained that the Special Branch’s staff strength — which stands at 600 — is too small to carry out proper verification.

This indicates that there are thousands of people in the country illegally, most of them in possession of documents that wrongly show that they are Pakistani nationals. This is a security risk that ought to be taken far more seriously. Sufficient evidence is on record that at least some of those that have taken up arms against the state and society are not Pakistani nationals, and some strands of the violence in this country are underpinned by the influence and operations of non-local groups and individuals. While it is apparently unable to control the spiralling violence in the country, can the state at least crack down on those who are obvious security risks?

Updated Jan 28, 2013 12:05am

More From This Section

Sectarian violence

HOW many have died in sectarian violence in Pakistan since 2008? More than 2,000 was the answer Minister of State ...

Gilgit-Baltistan alienation

THE ongoing popular protests that have roiled Gilgit-Baltistan over the past 10 days are reflective of the growing...

Fatah-Hamas unity

ISRAEL has overreacted to Palestinian unity moves. On Wednesday, shortly after Fatah and Hamas announced plans to...

ISI and media infighting

IN the bizarre, whiplash-inducing fallout of the Hamid Mir shooting, an alarming new twist has occurred: the ...

MQM in government again

THE MQM’s decision to join the Sindh government is not altogether surprising. The love-hate relationship that it...

Comments (3) (Closed)


Husain Jan
Jan 28, 2013 07:26am
Staff strength of 600 is considered as small ? Unbelievable, to say the least. Do the Special branch want to have staff like found in PIA ?
pearlofocean
Jan 28, 2013 04:27pm
well said.. its just an excuse,,...
Vision
Jan 29, 2013 05:03am
Corruption and more corruption