`Nadra drafting privacy laws

Published December 25, 2002

LAHORE, Dec 24: The National Database and Registration Authority is drafting privacy laws whose enactment will allow it to share data about citizens with the other government agencies such as the CBR.

This was stated by Nadra chairman Brig Saleem Ahmed Moeen (retired) while speaking to a select group of reporters here on Tuesday. “At present we are not sharing any data with any agency — local or foreign — although some have approached us for the purpose. Our ordinance does not allow us to do this,” he said in answer to a question. However, he said, Nadra was sharing with others its statistical data without divulging other details about the individual.

Nadra has collected a comprehensive database of 26.28 million citizens out of 29.4 million people who have applied for the replacement of their old national ID cards with new, computerized cards.

Nadra has also prepared 22 million NICs out of which 18 million have already been delivered by the end of November, 2002. The remaining applications are expected to be processed and cards prepared and delivered by the end of Jan 31. “At present we are preparing 80,000-90,000 cards per day against an inflow of 15,000-18,000 fresh applications,” the chairman said.

Around 75 million people are said to possess NICs issued over the last 29 years. According to a government announcement, the old NICs will be cancelled after March 31 next year.

Moeen admitted that there had been a big number of cards — about 300,000 —- prepared by Nadra carried errors.

However, he said, they were trying to eliminate such errors in future by improving the system and taking extra care. Besides, he said, the establishment of swift centres — which had eliminated all paperwork —- had greatly improved the system. “We have so far not received any complaint about near 500,000 cards issued by the swift centres across the country.” He said most errors were caused due to wrong filling of the forms by the applicants and others by Nadra staff handling them.

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