ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday suspended some officials of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) for allegedly finalising a dubious contract for hiring a building on exorbitant rent.

The decision was taken after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which had been tasked to probe the hiring deal with shady clauses submitted its report to the minister.

Among those suspended is Director General Tahir Akram. The others are members of the hiring committee. They are allegedly involved in renting a building for Nadra centre in G-6 Markaz (Melody Market) on a rent of Rs4.5 million per month.

The minister had tasked Nadra to identify government lands for establishing its permanent infrastructures. It was decided that in areas where government lands are not available buildings would be taken on rent, but with approval by the Nadra Board.

Meanwhile, Chaudhry Nisar presided over a meeting on Friday which was informed that Nadra would be introducing penalty clauses from Oct 31 against its those officials who misbehaved with people visiting Nadra centres.

The minister directed the Nadra management to digitise the complaint system against Nadra officials in the second phase.

He also asked the Nadra management to undertake performance audit of all the rural and urban Nadra centres along with their human resource utility to ensure optimal utilisation of available workforce.

The meeting was informed that during the ongoing national security CNIC re-verification drive Nadra had verified 90.9 million CNICs while 60,675 aliens who had fraudulently got CNICs had been identified. So far 2,473 aliens have voluntarily surrendered their Pakistani CNICs which they had obtained through illegal means.

Of them 2,392 were Afghans, 57 Bangladeshis, one Indian, one Indonesian and one Iraqi. Ninety-eight people helped Nadra in identifications of aliens in its database.

The minister said the first phase of chip-based E-passports with modern features and having global acceptability should be launched in May-June, 2017. During the first phase, official and diplomatic passports would be issued.

He directed the Directorate General of Immigration and Passport to come up with a comprehensive strategy for the issuance of 10-year validity E-passport. He said complete conversion to E-passport should be completed within two years in a phased manner.

The minister will formally launch the online passport service on Monday.

Published in Dawn October 8th, 2016

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