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Overseas Pakistanis

January 11, 2017

MY two grown-up children are currently visiting Pakistan. They went to open savings accounts carrying all necessary documents, including their Nicops and Canadian passports, but both banks they visited refused to open accounts because their fingerprints could not be verified by their biometric machines/systems due to some problem between the banks and Nadra.

Both had their Nicops issued from Toronto by filling online applications, and both Nicops were checked and cleared by PIA in Toronto and by the immigration department in Karachi. Why is Nadra issuing online Nicops if it cannot later verify them? Why has the SBP introduced a biometric system if Nadra and the banks lack the capacity to manage it?

To add, my children told me that the staff at Nadra and NBP were rude, uncooperative and unprofessional.

In Canada, opening a bank account takes 15 minutes and requires only a passport copy and basic information filled on a one-page form. However, in Pakistan, some banks’ forms can be up to 10 pages long.

Expats sometimes visit Pakistan for just seven to 10 days. The entire process of opening an account can take up to three weeks to complete. What era are Nadra, Chaudhry Nisar and SBP officials living in that this process can’t be streamlined?

Shafiq Ahmed Khan

Toronto, Canada

Published in Dawn January 11th, 2017