ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Interior directed National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on Friday to introduce multiple identification systems aimed at tightening security in the country.

Besides issuing computerised national identity cards (CNIC), the committee suggested Nadra to introduce both deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing as well as iris scanning.

The meeting also condemned the bomb blast in Hazarganji, Quetta, on Friday.

When the committee sought a report on the incident, the committee chairman, Senator Rehman Malik, announced that the next meeting of the committee would be held in Quetta where members would be given a thorough briefing on the blast.

“Involvement of our enemy countries cannot be ignored. Such blasts are aimed at inciting sectarian clashes to destabilise Pakistan. The Hazara community has been the target of terrorism for long and stern action is required against terrorists and banned outfits,” Rehman Malik said.

Coming back to multiple identification systems, members gave examples of Singapore and Japan where this technology was being used that provided complete portfolio of an individual.

However, Nadra Chairman Usman Yousaf Mobin said both DNA testing and iris scanning were financially unviable.

“Do not try to save money. The committee should take up shortage of funds with the governemnt,” Senator Shahzad Waseem said.

The committee chairman, Senator Rehman Malik, suggested that multiple identification systems could be introduced as pilot projects at the airports.

The committee would like Nadra to prepare a feasibility report on iris scanning. It could also request the government for funds.

Responding to a question, Usman Yousaf Mobin said there were 36 security features in the CNIC in varying capacities.

To PTI Senator Azam Swati’s proposal that the national identity card should contain complete portfolio of an individual, Usman Mobin said Nadra was already working on the project.

When the committee started discussing problems faced by overseas Pakistanis with regard to National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop), the Nadra chairman informed the committee that the Supreme Court had stopped the authority from operating its overseas centres in presence of online facility.

“We have online facility for every country except 10. Pakistanis from 183 countries use this service to address issues relating to Nicop,” Mr Mobin said.

He also informed the committee that Nadra had asked the Foreign Office to address the Nicop issue of overseas Pakistanis at its missions abroad.

However, the committee maintained that despite court orders, Nadra should place at least one staff member in embassies abroad to assist Pakistanis.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2019

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