Nadra in trouble
Nadra, which figures quite often in the media, is once again making headlines. This time the charges against the data registration authority are serious.
A Pakistani CNIC was recovered from the possession of the Jundullah chief, Abdolmalek Rigi, who was recently arrested by the Iranian authorities. Mr Rigi, a proclaimed terrorist, is not a Pakistani national. This gives the lie to Nadra’s claim of having a foolproof security and verification system in place. Initially the interior ministry claimed that the card was a forged one. But after the SMS verification system installed by Nadra and available to the public confirmed that the card was original, the government has been trying to shrug off the matter by giving explanations that are not really credible. It is to be expected that such incidents do little to enhance the people’s faith in the database authority.
The CNIC is a basic requirement for every formal transaction undertaken by a Pakistani in the country, and doubts are sown about the efficiency of the authority issuing the card when lapses become evident. True, it is difficult to point fingers at a particular organisation in a country where forging currency and manufacturing fake documents are common. This is all the more reason for government bodies issuing documents to exercise extra caution.
Nadra must ensure that its staff is trained to verify as far as possible the identity details of the person applying for a card. Carelessness or an unethical approach on the part of Nadra employees can lead to the serious misuse of documents by criminal elements. By now, the loopholes in data verification must be obvious to senior Nadra officials and attempts should be made to remove these and strengthen verification procedures by revising the checklist of the documents required. It would not be a bad idea to get the FIA to do some random checking of the documents submitted by applicants. Nadra’s task would be made infinitely easier if other government departments were to ensure that the documents and certificates being issued by them contain the correct details of the person applying for them.