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Date Posted: 23:11:49 04/01/07 Sun
Author: sarfraz ali

>By Javed - 02 January 2004
>A public spirited citizen Samee-Ul-Hassan Karachi
>(DAWN 29.12.2003) entitled “CNICs – a bottomless pit”
>has stated how national waste the National
>Registration Act of 1973 had been and keeping economic
>and other conditions of Pakistan this scheme in 1973
>should not have been started. He rightly quotes how
>illegal Afghani had been all along obtaining NICs and
>passports. He further quotes how countries like India
>never introduced NICs scheme. Only two months back in
>UK British Foeign Affairs has raised objection to any
>proposal for any national identity card. Samee says
>how much money has been spent on computerisation etc
>for new Computerised NICs. 18 December in some Lahore
>urdu newspaper I read a column wherein columnist from
>that class who always praise every government move
>while praising NADRA extraordinarily inter alia
>alleged that thousands have got these Computerised
>NICs illegally. Samee also says in 1980 he addressed
>the Ministry of Interior raising his fears scheme
>would not be useful. The scheme though in my view
>good but it was started with ill designs. Where
>national identity cards are issued the first and the
>main steps then taken is creation of a central data
>which in our case in 1970s was not done. Somewhere in
>1990s I myself drew the attention of Ministry of
>Interior directly and also through Federal Ombudsman
>showing importance of keeping centralised data and
>creatng simultaneously record of finger print data but
>no body appreciated me. Mr. Samee I am sure must be
>knowing creation of poorman’s bank, microwave bank,
>clean wather authroity, super cards etc in fact
>always are to create new seats for certain people and
>not for real purpose as is told to the nation. For
>example had it been real intent to help finance
>domestic type business and young people then instead
>creating new banks, new samll business complex etc
>more strength would had been given to already existing
>wonderful First Women Bank which did a real marvelous
>work in this field.
>The government introduced a new separate national
>identity card for Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) on a high
>fee of US$ 25 per three year per each family member.
>Almost each and every circle connected with Overseas
>Pakistanis (OPs) concern over it. For example
>Ministry of Foreign Affairs in writing logged its
>protest with Ministry of Interior in as much as that
>Joint Secretary from Foreign Affairs went personally
>to the Ministry of the Interior to lodge this protest.
>This was introduced without consulting Pakistani
>Embassies and OPs circles like Pakistani Associations
>abroad etc. Only recently on 12.10.2003 a news item
>appeared that UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs has
>strongly opposed and resented to the idea of any
>national identity cards for its nationals.
>When NADRA raised the idea of issuing Pakistan Origin
>Card (POC) for Pakistanis who have attained foreign
>nationality a very senior journalist titled his column
>“POC – a technique to earn money”. The rulers in the
>1997 Overseas Pakistanis Convention held in Islamabad
>pronounced Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) whether holding
>having Pakistani or foreign nationality all are our
>brothers and Pakistan is their home open all times. If
>this is correct then why should a Pakistani need a POC
>on payment to enter into his own home?
>The main reason for introducing this new National
>Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) given
>was that present National Identity Card in Pakistan
>was in Urdu which foreign authorities where OPs work
>cannot read. This is an argument which has no logic
>or sense. Foreign identity cards are never required
>to be produced by any government department in
>Pakistan. Likewise Pakistani national identity card
>has never ever been required abroad by foreign
>departments abroad. The only document universally
>recognised for establishing one’s identity is his
>national passport. I have worked for about 18 years
>abroad. The country where I had been working has a
>similar Identity card system as that in Pakistan.
>During all these years neither in Pakistan any
>department/bank asked me for producing my foreign ID
>Card nor in my country of employment any Department,
>my employer there or a Bank (even Pakistani bank
>there) ever asked me to produce my Pakistani National
>Identity Card. They always asked to produce local ID
>Card. Pakistani ID Card was however required only in
>Pakistan Embassies at time of issuance or renewal of
>Passports, attestations work in our Embassies we all
>know staff invariably know Urdu.
>Those who think POC for Pakistanis holding foreign
>nationality and separate NICOP for Pakistani nationals
>working abroad are just revenue generating brilliant
>ideas perhaps have some weight in their thinking if we
>see that according to a report published on 26/6/2003
>now NADRA was planning to replace the traditional
>identity card with a new multi purpose card with
>bio-metric technology. Of course a new income.
>The main salient reason given introducing separate
>card for Pakistanis working abroad was that foreign
>countries Administrations cannot read Urdu hence need
>for an English language card which foreign
>Administrations could read. How weak and empty this
>reason is can be judged from only one example that the
>Punjab Ombudsman of the same Government to which NADRA
>belongs addresses Overseas Pakistani complainants by
>writing foreign complainant’s address on the envelope
>in Urdu. Pakistani complainants from abroad write
>their foreign addresses in English so that on return
>host country postal administration could read it. But
>the Punjab Ombudsman while replying translates this
>English address into Urdu so foreign postal
>administration should know to read Urdu. This negates
>NADRA’s logic.

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