ISLAMABAD: Two more individuals said to be involved in helping Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour to obtain Pakistani documents for his alias Wali Mohammad have been arrested.

The arrests come days after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan admitted that officials of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) were fraudulently ‘selling’ Pakistani citizenship to aliens and ordered a national re-verification exercise in order to remove all illegal entries in the national database.

According to an interior ministry statement, Aziz Ahmad Achakzai, a risaldar major in the Balochistan Levies Force, was arrested in Quetta for helping Wali Mohammad acquire a manual Pakistani ID card.

Achakzai, who still held the same position in Chaman, had attested the national identity card of Wali Mohammad in 2001.

Another Nadra employee was picked up in Karachi for tampering with records to secure Pakistani citizenship for Wali Mohammad’s second wife and children. The suspect, Riffat Iqbal, was serving as a superintendent with Nadra in Karachi and, according to the interior ministry statement, had disappeared after the drone attack.

Though the tampering was detected by his superiors, no action had been taken against him so far. The timing of his disappearance and his apparent link to the slain Taliban leader prompted the arrest.

The arrests came a day after the interior minister disclosed that more cases of a similar nature had been detected following the Wali Mohammad episode.

“Some startling facts have come to light,” the minister said, without divulging the name of any high-profile foreign militant who was also issued Pakistani papers. But he lamented that forged cards were distributed “like sweets” in the past and that this had been happening for well over a decade now.

On Friday, Nadra Junior Executive Syed Afsar Hassan was taken into custody for allegedly tampering with family records to pass off foreigners as Pakistani citizens. An official statement said he had been involved with a human trafficking racket as well.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2016