Bengali-speaking people: Nadra told to ensure issuance of CNICs
ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) was ordered on Wednesday by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Interior to set up a regional facilitation centre to ensure the issuance of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) to Bengali-speaking people who had valid documentary proof.
The committee met with Abdul Qadir Patel in the chair here at the Parliament House.
Mahmood Bashir Virk, Bushra Gohar, Tasneem Ahmad Qureshi and Wasim Akhtar attended the meeting.
Additional Secretary, Interior, Shahid Hameed and senior Nadra officials also attended the meeting.
Nadra officials informed the committee that under the law, any person who continuously stayed in the country on a single address for five years could apply for nationality to the interior ministry.
The person, he said, was issued CNIC after he or she was cleared by secret agencies.
The chairman and members of the committee infuriated when Additional Secretary informed the committee that Interior Minister has issued directives to discourage issuance of CNIC to aliens.
Wasim Akhar, member of the committee said that the concerned authorities need to facilitate those Bengalis who have documentary proof.
“If there is a provision in the constitution, why does the interior minister wants to discourage issuance of NICs to aliens,” he said.
Deputy Chairman, Nadra, Muhammad Tariq Malik informed the committee that currently, there were about two million Bengali-speaking persons living in and around Karachi and Hyderabad, and a small number in other parts of the country.
He said that Nadra had issued CNICs to Bengali-speaking people who opted to live in Pakistan after the 1971 War.
Those, he said, who were repatriated by the government through normal channels during the post-1971 period, and those who obtained Pakistani citizenship by acquiring Naturalisation Certificate from the ministry of interior had also been provided CNICs as they had provided valid documentary proof.
But, he said, Nadra was unable to issue CNICs to people who arrived in Pakistan on their own, using fake travel documents or avoiding border checks because they were unable to provide documents required for the issuance of CNIC.
Malik said that Nadra had taken different measures for addressing public concerns regarding allocating electoral areas to registered voters.
Preliminary electoral rolls had been prepared under guidelines provided by the Election Commission of Pakistan and these rolls were displayed for public scrutiny at around 60,000 display centers and made available through SMS for the convenience of general public.
The committee also asked senior officials of Nadra to appoint trained and qualified people at Nadra customer centers as well as take action against those officials who did not treat people properly or taking bribe from the citizens.