ISLAMABAD, March 19: Registration of Afghan refugees in Pakistan is one of the biggest problems for the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra). This was stated by the authority’s chairman, Arshad Hakeem, during a presentation before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) here on Saturday.
Mr Hakeem explained how Afghan refugees with Pakistani national identity cards were an ongoing problem.
“More than 90,000 Afghan refugees have been traced and their cards cancelled. The interior ministry has been asked to track down Afghans having Pakistani identity cards and had travelled abroad,” he said.
ID cards for Afghans seemed to top the agenda of the PAC meeting with MNA Noor Alam Khan telling the chair of the committee, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, that giving Afghans Pakistani nationality would be disastrous for the country.
“They have overstayed their welcome, scattered across our cities and taken up our jobs,” said Noor Alam Khan, explaining how Afghans with Pakistani identity cards were also a security threat at home and bringing a bad name to the country with their criminal activities abroad.
Noor Alam Khan also said a check should be kept on Arab nationals whom he believed were also bringing a bad repute to Pakistan.
The Nadra chairman responded by saying that determining origins of Afghans was a critical and complicated issue.
Another issue of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) was raised by an MNA when he highlighted how Kashmiris with Pakistani identity cards could purchase and sell properties anywhere in the country while Pakistanis could not do the same in AJK.
No solution was offered to this point by Nadra.
Among other issues discussed in the meeting were problems of change in addresses, names, date of birth, status and age in identity cards.
Mr Hakeem informed the meeting that 6.6 million applicants had got their CNICs modified countrywide during the last eight years.
“Softwares have been amended and staff hired to accommodate eunuchs,” he said.
He also said 98,000 duplicate ID cards were blocked and 400 to 500 people showed up daily at various Nadra centres to surrender their duplicate cards.
The PAC also took exception to the fact that hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis were still without CNICs and that Nadra was doing little to solve the problem.