ISLAMABAD: Federal Ombudsman Secretariat on Friday directed the State Bank to issue instructions to all banks to use National Database and Registration Authority’s (Nadra) Verisys system instead of personal biometric verification for non-resident Pakistanis or the Pakistanis who are temporarily residing outside Pakistan.

“This initiative will resolve the problems of millions of Overseas Pakistanis,” read a statement issued by Ombudsman Secretariat on Friday.

It said that State Bank of Pakistan assured that it would take action in case any violation of the said decision or unnecessary inconvenience caused to the Overseas Pakistanis in this regard.

The statement said that a number of Overseas Pakistanis had lodged their complaints with the Federal Ombudsman regarding blocking of their bank accounts for want of biometric verification.

Their claim was that Nadra verification system and National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) already had their biometric record; therefore blockage of accounts due to this reason was unjustified.

They requested intervention to resolve their grievances. Grievance Commissioner of Overseas Pakistanis of Federal Ombudsman Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar called a report from the State Bank governor in this regard, read the statement, which added that the State Bank submitted that an SRO had been issued by them advising all banks of Pakistan to use Nadra’s data and Verisys of for biometric verification of non-resident Pakistanis’ (NRP) bank accounts.

Moreover, for those customers who are not NRP but residing outside Pakistan temporarily, the bank may conduct fresh Nadra Verisys and retain the same in place of biometric verification until their return (within 6 months).

Biometric of such customers shall be done immediately on customer’s return to the country.

The State Bank further informed that in case of joint accounts, where one account holder is outside of Pakistan, the biometric should be done of the resident, while the above stated procedure be adopted for the other partner.

Published in Dawn, August 31st, 2019