QUETTA: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on Wednesday blocked more than 40,000 computerised national identity cards (CNICs) over suspicion of being issued to foreigners in Quetta.
Sources in Nadra told Dawn that thousands of CNICs were issued to Afghan refugees and other foreigners living in the province.
The Balochistan government has formed a committee headed by Deputy Commissioner Quetta Dawood Khilji to verify the blocked cards.
"We are unable to verify more than 50 NICs in one day," Khilji told Dawn.
Long queues were witnessed outside Nadra offices in Quetta for verification of CNICs.
"Nadra officials are demanding Rs60,000 bribe for verification of my NIC," Haji Niamatullah, an aged man outside the authority's office in Killi Gul Muhammad area of Quetta, told Dawn. The aged man claims to be a native.
Sources also admitted that NICs of locals were also blocked on suspicion of being foreigners.
Some corrupt elements inside Nadra have included the names of Afghan refugees in the family tree of Quetta residents in order to justify issuance of cards.
"Whenever we trace an Afghan refugee in a family tree, then the CNICs of all family members are blocked," a Nadra official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, told Dawn.
Most of NICs have been issued to aliens in Quetta, Pishin, Killa Abdullah districts of Balochistan.
Political parties remained critical of Nadra over the alleged inability of the authority to stop issuance of cards to foreigners.
"People are facing problems, they wait outside my office everyday," the Deputy Commissioner Quetta said while referring to the sufferings of the masses.
Issuance of NICs to foreign nationals remained an open secret in Balochistan.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had also arrested some Nadra officials for involvement in the issuance of the cards to aliens.
The Accountability Court in Quetta has also sentenced two assistant directors of Nadra seven years and fined them Rs8 million each in this regard.