Nadra maintained secrecy of data -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Nadra maintained secrecy of data

By: Syed Irfan Raza

ISLAMABAD: The Transparency International Pakistan gave a clean chit to the National Database and Registration Authority on Tuesday in the award of a contract for preparation of national identity cards for overseas Pakistanis and observed that Nadra had not compromised on the secrecy of its database.

The TI had taken notice of media reports on Aug 14 that Nadra had shared database of millions of Pakistanis with a private firm which was awarded a contract in 2009 for the issuance of Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistan (NICOP) and Pakistan Origin Cards (POC) in the United Kingdom and Europe and asked the authority to submit a reply.

In a letter to Nadra chief Tariq Malik, TI Chairman Adil Gilani said the “Transparency International Pakistan has examined Nadra’s detailed reply received and based on Nadra’s report the procedure as prescribed by the Public Procurement Rules-2004 seems to have been adopted. And the allegations reported in the news report prima facie do not appear to be correct.”

He said the TI appreciated Nadra’s detailed response and requested it to continue to follow Public Procurement Rules, 2004.

According to Nadra’s reply, the contract was awarded to the International Identity Services (IIS) because its bid was found adequate after thorough evaluation and due scrutiny.

“The IIS was established as a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) company by its sponsors, namely, Howard Denton International (HDI).

Therefore, Nadra thoroughly evaluated the credentials of Howard Denton International and when satisfied that it met the requisite criteria, the project was awarded to IIS,” the Nadra chief said in his reply. Tariq Malik said Nadra had given a detailed presentation to all stakeholders, including the country’s premier security/intelligence agency for security clearance of the project.

He claimed that at no stage the security, confidentiality or integrity of data of overseas Pakistanis ever going to be compromised or handed over to any other party, including IIS.

“Nadra’s software being used for the project does not allow storage of data on any system apart from its own database, which is housed at Islamabad. The very moment a system operator enters/punches the data, the same is irretrievable on that system and can then only be accessed at the National Data Warehouse. However, even though the secrecy and safety of the data was fool-proof,” he said.

The news reports had also accused Interior Minister Rehman Malik of being personally involved in facilitating the deal and blamed him for being reckless with the outsourcing of the data of millions of overseas Pakistanis.