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Thursday, May 25, 2023

3 to 4 million fake CNICs reportedly in circulation, NADRA officers arrested

Zafar Hilaly, a former diplomat, columnist, and TV analyst claimed that 3-4 million CNICs are in circulation. This comes days after 39 officers, including 12 DGs of NADRA have been suspended for issuing fake CNICs to Al-Qaeda, and other militants.

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Recently, Pakistan’s National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) has gone through a major reshuffling in the administrative frame, reshuffling 12 Director Generals.

This h happened following reports of criminal activity in its Karachi office. According to recent reports, as many as 39 employees were issuing fake CNICs in NADRAs regional head office.

According to national media reports, 9 out of the 12 officers are retired army officers who have been placed on key structural assignments, mentioned in the notification issued by the NADRA administration.

Two assistant directors of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and an agent have been arrested on charges of preparing computerized national identity cards (CNICs) for militants and others for achieving some illegal gains, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Sindh Director Amir Farooqi said on 8th July.

Speaking at a press conference at his office in Karachi, Farooqi said certain employees of Nadra helped militants linked with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), and proscribed outfits of Baloch sub-nationalist groups to get CNICs in return for some money.

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He revealed that an Indian citizen, Imran Ali, who was “involved in the Safoora carnage” was also given a CNIC.

Besides, the suspects involved in the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi also got their identity changed.

“The Baloch militant group chief Allah Nazar and others got Nadra’s CNICs. Several employees of Nadra Sindh were involved in helping the terrorists to get the cards,” Farooqi told the media.

The FIA director revealed that “foreign agencies” had breached Nadra’s system and “damaged” it. “Deputy director Nadra and other employees were involved in it,” he added.

Farooqi disclosed that around three to four million “fake“ CNICs were prepared during the last general elections.

Read More: Pakistan visa can now be obtained online within 30 days

The FIA director said that senior officials in Nadra were involved in this racket. “Postings were managed from the top office to place the officers in Nadra centers which were considered lucrative for making illegal CNICs like [those in] Korangi, Defence, etc.,” said Farooqi.

Former Diplomat, Columnist, and Analyst at ViewPoint Zafar Hilaly also commented on the issue commenting that 60 per cent of Sindh’s NADRA staff is corrupt.

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Although Mr. Hilaly’s claims are not confirmed, if true, point to a major breach at the national level.

Government’s Response

A video clip of Interior Minister Pakistan Sheikh Rasheed is also doing rounds on social media whereby, he said, “a new very capable chairman, Tariq Malik has joined as NADRA Chairman.”

It is worth mentioning that Malik joined NADRA on 6th July, and prior to this was working as Chief Technical Advisor for UNDP.

Interior Minister added, “39 people have been suspended in the Karachi incident, and other regional HQs have been directed to take action against issuing of counterfeit CNICs.”

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People on social media are arguing that this is the reason why the opposition parties have been against the EVM machines.

Read More: ECP’s concerns over PTI’s electoral reforms bill