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MQM demands issuance of CNICs to Biharis

February 08, 2004

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KARACHI, Feb 7: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Saturday criticized the non-issuance of computerized national identity cards and passports to the Pakistanis, who had settled in Orangi after the fall of Dhaka , and demanded that the same should be issued to them without any delay.

Addressing a news conference at the Karachi Press Club, the MQM MNA Dr Farooq Sattar, who was accompanied by MPA Abdul Quddoos and others, said that the previous NICs and passports of Biharis living in Orangi and adjoining areas were being confiscated and those who somehow got the computerized cards were being asked to return the same.

He said that over 1.8 million bonafide Pakistanis lived in Orangi, but, they were being discriminated against.

Dr Sattar also referred to a letter addressed to Nadra chairman in which he had brought to his notice that over 30,000 people were being deprived of their right and entitlement of CNIC because their nationality is suspected.

The MQM MNA said, "These are genuine, authentic and legitimate people who came to Pakistan in early eighties. They are true Pakistanis who have rendered enormous sacrifices for the cause of one-Pakistan. They and their progenitors came during the mass influx. These people were issued old NICs after due process of registration."

Now when they were applying for the new computerized ID cards, their nationality was being questioned and made contentious resulting in deprivation of their right to prove their or their parent's residency before 1971, he pointed out.

"They are loyal and patriotic Pakistanis," said Dr Sattar and called for facilitating the issuance of CNICs, "if necessary, the necessary law/rules applicable be suitably amended or flexibility be shown to enable them to get the NIC."

He said these people were bonafide Pakistanis, who had made great sacrifices for the glory of Pakistan and had the right to posses these documents.

Dr Sattar while lauding services of these people and supporting the military in the pre-1971 situation, alleged these people were being deliberately denied the national identity cards.

He alleged that whenever these people, who had lost everything during the period of turmoil, approached Nadra for the NICs, they were harrased and asked about their citizenship prior to 1974.

The MNA said that during the whole decade of 70s, Pakistanis kept coming to this part of the country but in 1980 their arrival was stopped through legislation here. These people, he added, were even issued NICs and passports.

Criticizing the alleged conspiracy against these Pakistanis, he stressed that Nadra should not ask for proof of their nationality and a swift office should be established in Orangi for them. He also deplored the policy of confiscating old NICs of these Pakistanis. He said the MQM MPAs had already identified the place for establishing a swift office.

Dr Sattar warned that if harassment of these Pakistanis was not stopped forthwith and they were not issued CNICs and passports, people would think many times before making any sacrifices in times of distress.

He said on the directives of Mr Altaf Hussain, some MNAs and MPAs belonging to MQM held meetings with Nadra Chairman Brig Salim Moin and DG Brig Asif Zaib in Islamabad, adds PPI.

In the meetings, he said, the attention of Nadra officials was drawn towards problems confronting Biharis due to the authorities' attitude. It was demanded that Nadra should start issuing CNICs and national passports to Behari immigrants.

According to him, the Nadra officials accepted their demands and informed them during the meetings that Biharis would not be subjected to any discrimination.

However, he deplored, despite assurances, Biharis were still facing problems at the hand of registration authority officials.

He demanded registration authority officials to stop subjecting Biharis with old identity cards having serial number "504" with discriminatory attitude.