News Desk |
The conveners of the subcommittee of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly has proposed a new clearance process for the issuance of computerized national identity card (CNIC) and passport. The proposal states that a mandatory clearance of national identity documents should be issued by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI).
The subcommittee is spearheaded by MNA Noor Alam Khan, hailing from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), on Tuesday, deliberated over an audit paragraph related to the disposal of more than 0.8 million rejected passports, which have caused Rs280.6 million worth of losses to the national exchequer.
In December 2009, the PAC had ordered the NBP to abandon this overpriced fee, however, the directive was not implemented.
Pakistan Identity for Foreign Nationals
MNA Noor Alam Khan shed light on his own experience, and informed the subcommittee that the Passport Office and National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) are marred with widespread corruption and negligence. MNA Khan highlighted that due to this negligence, countless Afghan citizens have obtained Pakistani CNICs and passports.
MNA Khan highlighted that widespread corruption in offices like Nadra and Passport authorities are maligning Pakistan’s reputation, and the concerned authorities, such as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports, are not taking action against such practices.
The proposal states that a mandatory clearance of national identity documents should be issued by ISI and MI.
Deliberating a solution, MNA Noor Alam Khan put forward a solution that CNICs and passports should not be issued unless the identity documents are cleared by the ISI and MI. This is primarily important to undermine foreigners availing Pakistani passports and identity documents with the agenda of maligning Pakistan’s security and intelligence agencies.
Major (R) Suleiman Azam Khan, Interior Secretary, was also present during the discussion. In defence of the Interior Ministry, he urged the head of the PAC subcommittee to have faith in the institutions and authorities of Pakistan. Interior Secretary Major (R) Suleiman assured that all Pakistani institutions are equally loyal to the nation, and mentioned that the ministry will launch an investigation into this matter.
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Non-Implementation of PAC Directives
Addressing another para associated with the attainment of food items for South Waziristan Scouts, the PAC subcommittee inquired Major Adnan, the SWS representative, to explain why the audit officials were not provided with the required documents.
MNA Khan highlighted that due to this negligence, countless Afghan citizens have obtained Pakistani CNICs and passports.
Interior Secretary Major (R) Suleiman Azam Khan, informed the members that the Interior Ministry will also launch an inquiry into this issue. Reports reveal that the South Waziristan Scouts purchased Rs397.2 million worth of fresh vegetables, meat and fruits during the year 2015-16, and the costs rose to Rs414.8m in the year 2016-17.
The audit officials noted that these food items were obtained without any open competition. When Major Adnan attempted to explain the expenses, MNA Khan remarked that he understood the entire affair and how matters are handled. He further remarked that if the Prime Minister and his cabinet are held responsible and have to face inquires, why should the South Waziristan Scouts be spared?
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MNA Khan directed the ministry to provide the subcommittee with an inquiry report after investigating the matter. He also expressed his disappointment on the non-execution of the PAC orders related to the Rs23 overpricing in the passport fee.
According to the audit documents, the Ministry of Finance has allowed Rs2 to be collected as part of the bank commission charged on the passport fee. However, the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) began charging Rs25 as the commission on the issuance of the receipt of the passport fee.
In December 2009, the PAC had ordered the NBP to abandon this overpriced fee, however, the directive was not implemented. MNA Noor Alam Khan ordered the Interior Secretary to launch an investigation into the matter and ensure the issue is dealt responsibly.