CNIC on Rigi lands Nadra into trouble
By Syed Irfan Raza
ISLAMABAD: The recovery of a Pakistani Computerised National Identity Card from the possession of Abdolmalek Rigi, an Iranian terrorist and head of Jundallah group, has put a question mark on the Nadra’s “self-proclaimed secure” registration system.
The card was recovered by Iranian security personnel when Rigi was arrested while travelling on a flight heading to an Arab country via Pakistan on Feb 23.
The interior ministry claimed that it was a fake card, and not issued by the National Database Registration Authority.
Iranian authorities are reported to have informed Pakistan about the recovery of the CNIC carrying photograph of Abdolmalek Rigi and sought an investigation into the matter, but the government did not make it public.
However, the interior ministry had to issue its point of view only when a TV channel telecast the news about Rigi’s identity card.
The recovery of CNIC from the terrorist leader has thrown a challenge to security of Nadra’s database and its official slogan “deception no more”.
At the time of arrest Rigi was allegedly carrying a CNIC bearing number 42201-5884556-1 issued in the name of Saeed Ahmed, son of Ghulam Haider. The card shows his year of birth as 1978.
A press release issued by the interior ministry said: “Rigi’s brother, also an Iranian national, possessed a fake national identity card of Pakistan, who was later extradited. Pakistan has always claimed that Rigi has not been staying here and the stance has been ratified by his recent arrest while holding Afghan passport.”
Rigi’s card was found to be original when checked through a general procedure of Nadra by simply sending an SMS message to a number, 7000.
A senior Nadra official told Dawn that the card was issued in 2004 while the authority had acquired the facility of biometrics and facial scanning in 2005.
The facility enables Nadra to record finger and thumb impressions as well as facial features.
He said Rigi’s card was fake because it showed a thumb impression on the card despite the fact the biometrics system in Nadra started working in 2005. No thumb impressions of applicants were taken before introduction of the system, he added.
The official also rejected reports that Nadra had issued over 25,000 fake CNICs to foreign nationals. “First of all, this is impossible and, secondly, Nadra has nothing to do with the registration of foreigners because it is done by the National Aliens Registration Authority (Nara).”
He said Nadra’s system was so secure that it foiled over 250 attempts of getting fake CNIC in a day. It had so far prevented from issuing over 85,000 fake cards, he added.
However, the official did not rule out the possibility that CNICs would have been issued to some Afghan nationals who were born in Pakistan and managed to get the cards on the basis of manual ID cards issued to their parents over two or three decades ago.
“But these manual ID cards cannot be used for any transaction and traced whenever they are used,” he added.