ISLAMABAD -  A sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior Friday, taking notice of the presence of hundreds of thousands of illegal foreigners especially Afghan nationals in the country, asked the Ministry of Interior to collect data of all foreigners living in the country.

The committee, held under the chair of its convener Senator Fateh Mohammad Husseni, accused that if NADRA continued to issue identity cards to Afghan nationals illegally, the half of the population of Afghanistan would migrate to Pakistan.

“The date of foreigners collected by NADRA was incomplete. The data of all foreigners including Afghan nationals should be collected and the registered Afghan nationals should be included into the database of NADRA,” Fateh said.

The committee also summoned provincial home secretaries, federal secretary Ministry of State and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) and chief commissioner Afghan Refugees in its next meeting.

The convener of the committee alleged that around more than 0.5 million Afghan refugees, who have also got Pakistani nationality after giving bribe to Pakistani government officials, travelled to different parts of the world annually and were also receiving 1100 dollars as cash assistance from the office of Afghan Refugees Commissioner. “Afghan nationals having fake Pakistani national identity cards and passports bring bad name to the country,” he said. He further alleged that in an Afghan refugees camp in Balochistan, more than 50 thousand Afghan refugees had illegally become Pakistani nationals with the alleged connivance of government officials.

The committee proposed that NADRA in the light of permanent and temporary addresses should point out fake Pakistani nationals with the help of intelligence agencies of provincial governments as well as local governments’ offices. The committee remarked that in Karachi, hundreds of thousand of Bengalis and Burmese were present and there was no data present with the government. The committee suggested to make NADRA an independent authority in its real sense. It also said that all dual passports and Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) in the country should be cancelled.

Acting Director General Immigration and Passports briefing the meeting said that the system of issuance of passports had been made transparent and thus now it was difficult to get a fake or dual passport. “If someone tries to change his parentage, place of birth or permanent address, such cases are considered as dup case and the issuance of passport is blocked and a special fine is imposed on such a person,” he said.

Director General Operations NADRA Mir Alam said that NADRA was considered amongst the 10 best IT institutions of the world. He dispelled the impression that NADRA was involved in the issuance of fake CNICs. He said that fake Pakistani ID cards to Afghan nationals were issued before the biometric system of Afghan refugees and automated system of NADRA. “We have written letters to all the provinces to form joint investigation teams to collect data of foreigners but we have received no reply till yet,” he said.

The DG Operations said that NADRA had the capacity to verify thumb impressions and there was no chance of error. “But during the verification of elections results of some constituencies in last elections, some thumb impressions have been found ambiguous on the ballot papers, some are incomplete and on some ballot papers, there are double thumb impressions,” he said adding that these were difficult to be verified.

Joint Secretary Ministry of Interior Syed Khalid informed it was only the political leadership to decide the collection of data and other issues of foreigners. He said it was even difficult to go to Karachi for population census due to security reasons.