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CNIC re-verification

Updated May 27, 2016 10:42am


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IT is a monumental folly and possibly sinister in intent too. By his own admission, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan does not know much, or indeed anything at all, about the CNIC and passport that allegedly belonged to assassinated Afghan Taliban leader Akhtar Mansour and that may have been recovered from the site of the drone attack. But the facts-free interior minister wants to plunge headlong into an administrative exercise of staggering proportions to supposedly re-verify all CNICs issued by Nadra. So critical is the task, according to Chaudhry Nisar, that he has given his lieutenants in the interior ministry just 48 hours to draw up a plan for the unprecedented project. Nothing, it seems, will stand between the interior minister and his quest for a fool-proof registration system. Nothing except for perhaps the facts themselves.

At every level of Chaudhry Nisar’s pronouncements since the Mullah Mansour killing there have been questions. For one, the interior minister has casually admitted to comprehensive corruption in the ranks of Nadra. This after three years of him heading the interior ministry and lecturing the country at every opportunity along the way on the ‘great’ reforms he has implemented during his tenure. So, why is corruption still so endemic in Nadra? The admission of corruption means the proposed purge of fake or unverifiable CNICs will also be flawed. Why should Nadra staff be expected to fix the problem of false identities when it is itself the reason the problem exists in the first place? Finally, how would a re-verification drive, no matter how elaborately conducted, address the problem of the state itself providing false identities to Afghan Taliban leaders? Among the various possibilities of how Mullah Mansour came to be in possession of a Pakistani passport and identity card, it is entirely likely that he was provided these as part of the sanctuary that Afghan Taliban leaders enjoy in Pakistan. Will Nadra realistically have the power to cancel such documents?

Perhaps most troubling in the interior minister’s decision is the scale of disruption it may cause in the country. The re-verification exercise could easily unravel into a farce and little more than a petty extortion project, especially given the power of a CNIC and the relative ease with which individuals can be harassed by Nadra. Misdeeds of Nadra officials could also trigger inter-provincial spats and ethnic tensions if migrant communities in urban centres are pressed by Nadra officials for documents they do not possess or that are only available in their native districts. So, rather than harass or inconvenience peaceful, law-abiding citizens of the country and cause major disruption nationally, here is a better idea for the interior minister: devote some of the interior ministry’s resources to determining how Mullah Omar, Mullah Mansour and, now, Haibatullah Akhunzada came to take up residence in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2016


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Comments (23) Closed

Life May 27, 2016 03:00am

I never heard something practical and sane from Chaudhery sahab

brr May 27, 2016 03:04am

Such a stupid decision - checking 180M cards, could take years and millions of dollars.

imran8t8 May 27, 2016 03:35am

Charge every corrupt Nadra Official with treason. This is the only solution that will act as a deterrent to future potential corrupt Nadra Officials. Just to satisfy their greed, the corrupt Nadra officials have wrecked havoc in the lives of countless victims of bombing in Pakistan. Strict exemplary action need to be taken against them at once.

Khalid Latif May 27, 2016 07:55am

It is a simple matter of management, which has very few steps to run a system. 1. Selection of heads of department and the ordinary employees, through written and oral tests and discussions. The cadidate should be from a respectable family, with no past history of convictions. 2. There should be a comprehensive training program for new employees, conducted by well qualified, educated and experienced professionals. This should be taken seriously. 3. The new employee should be placed under a trainer to assist him in his induction stage. 4. In his intial empoyment period, he must be watched closely for his professional and private activities. Most organisations, more or less, work like that. One thing is very clear, any interference in the normal working of a system, by its bosses, ruins that system. "Delegation of authority" is a golden rule to follow, which is not customary here. An organisation is run directly by the boss. Like we have the PM running every show.

Aamir ali Farooqui USA May 27, 2016 08:37am

Sir, the By his own admission, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan does not know much, or indeed anything at all, about the CNIC and passport. It is not easy and time consuming job, money and labour, Pakistan can not afford this exercise, Nisar have to think 3 times.

Baaligh May 27, 2016 09:25am

Should see the poor result and lean from the decision of computerization of arms licences which task has remained unfinished despite lapse of considerable time period despite being small- much smaller as compared to this task of re-verification of tens of millions of CNICs. An alternate suggestion :: Catch the corrupt NADRA officials and hang them all at the soonest by prosecuting them thru miltitary courts. This will deter other NADRA men from corrupt practices and no CNIC will thus get issued illegally. If not hanged the corrupt will continue illegal issuance in future too and the re-verification process will bear no desired result.

Imran ali May 27, 2016 09:31am

one political party in Baluchistan involved in attesting Nadra form of Afghani as a result there are easily getting card

AA May 27, 2016 09:57am

A sound advice to Mr. Bean.

Asad J May 27, 2016 10:08am

A few hundred maulvis and seminary students can’t be managed when they head towards Islamabad and occupy D Chowk, Islamabad’s apology of the Place de la Bastille. A lone gunman, Sikander, comes along and makes a comic spectacle of the entire Islamabad administration for hours on end and the interior minister is hard put to handle that. But he must speak out on foreign policy and take fierce jabs at the United States, holding out vague threats about the future impact on Pak-US relations.

And to top it off Pakistanis hear this joke of re-verification of 180 million CNICs. Someone should raise the Courts to stop this madness forthwith, before these imbeciles in government do any more damage to the well-being of Pakistan and its denizens.

Secular Pathan May 27, 2016 10:18am


Secular Pathan May 27, 2016 10:23am


Sonya May 27, 2016 10:43am

NADRA must be declared an independent constitutional body free from political control. To my knowledge there were both civil and military personnel in NADRA who had been involved in corruption.

neutral May 27, 2016 10:47am

Quite agree with the Editorial. It brings shivers if one thinks to visit NADRA office. Ch Nisar has not seen physically the situation inside and outside of the NADRA offices in the country. He is asking for the moon.

True Karachiwala May 27, 2016 11:30am

He does not do the job he is supposed to do, rather now and then holds a press conference and starts lecturing on irrelevant issues. Last few lines are enough to teach Pakistan's political history to that gentleman.

AdHawk May 27, 2016 05:01pm

Yet they can't conduct a census, a constitutional requirement no less.

Mehboob Ali Lalani May 27, 2016 05:05pm

Does Nadra has capacity and capability to carry out such gigantic task? Does this exercise makes Nadra corruption free institution? I don't think so.

It is better to seek expert advice from the professionals relevant in the field.

Actions based on emotion would not produce any result.

Abbas Khan May 27, 2016 05:27pm

Unquestionably an unbelievable rhetoric. Reverifying CNICs is really punishing, probing, penalizing and prosecuting the innocent to protect the guilty. Despite brining them to books who issue fake and unauthorised official documents you people disturbing whole nation under sweltering sun and massive wastage of finances from national kitty

Freda Shah May 27, 2016 08:21pm

The aim is clearly to divert attention from the real issues confronting the government.

syed A kazmi May 27, 2016 09:48pm

They will never ever disclose how was he able to get the CNIC & Passport for very obvious reasons. This exercise declared in haste is just to impress the world that it was a system fault not some intentional abuse of system. They could have targetted him some where else but they choose it while he was in Pakistan. Message is very loud & clear, it is upto the ruling circles they listen to it or not.

Guest66 May 27, 2016 11:20pm

This is an opportunity to make millions rather billions by the very corrupt Nadra officers who would have issued the Passport and Id card to an Afghan Taliban leader , After 3 years heading the department and he still talk about corruption in Nadra , so how on earth Corruption laden org would verify and correct the cards EXCEPT extortion of billions from millions of people ....

Qasim May 28, 2016 12:03am

Spot on editorial. Agreed to the letter.

Sajad Ali Khan May 28, 2016 03:56am

@Abbas Khan IDs are issued to our guests from across the imaginary border between Afghan a Pakistan. Its done with knowledge of highest authorities. All countries all around the world do it as a bribe to comply to give direction. Its not always 100% successful. Border between nations can only exist if people recognise them. Pathan people of Afghanistan and Pathan people of Pakistan have never reconciled that there is a border (Durand line from British raj definition) . West German and East Germans eventually reconciled and be came one. Pakistan and Afghanistan should hold a joint consultations between the Pathan populations of both nations and find pragmatic solutions to decide to have a border or not have border if they don't want a border then how should areas be administered, by Kabul or Islamabad or be semiautonomous as they are now (failed status in current form)

Daanish May 28, 2016 04:51am

The editorial is not doing justice to our Interior minister Chaudhhery sahib, we need to investigate former interior minister Rahman Mallik. Mallik sahib was the worst minister and I doubt about his patritiosm, most of the illegal passport and CNIC were given during his time.

Do not forget the peace chaudhery brought by SIMS check.