RAWALPINDI: People of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) can now use Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) for identification instead of Watan cards which were issued earlier as identification documents for payment of compensation to Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs).

Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday directed for “facilitation to the tribal brethren in the Federally Adminis­tered Tribal Areas”.

“Henceforth, CNICs will now count as ID. Those without CNICs can use the Watan card till May 31 and obtain a CNIC by then,” said an Inter-Services Public Relations press release issued on Thursday.

Till this directive, the CNIC was not a valid document to enter areas like North Waziristan, Mehsud area of South Waziristan, and de-notified parts of Khyber, Orakzai and Kurram agencies.

The local people had to show a Watan Card at security check-posts otherwise they were not allowed to travel to their native areas.

In response to the flood crisis in 2010, the government of Pakistan in collaboration with the provincial governments launched the Citizens’ Damage Compensation Programme to support affected households with cash in their recovery efforts in all four provinces as well as Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The Council of Common Interests made an immediate one-off payment of Rs20,000 to each affected family. The programme was mutually financed by the federal and provincial governments under the Watan Card scheme to support the flood-affected families, and provide some relief to the affected people.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2018

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