ISLAMABAD                  -               The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has shown its readiness to extend its services to the Sindh government for the verification of national identity cards (NICs). “As is the case with other provinces, NADRA is also extending its services to the Sindh government,” said Faik Ali, the spokesman for the Authority.

NADRA, having the database of citizens, has recently come under fire by the senior leadership of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) for not sharing the data with the Sindh government which would be used for the disbursement of cash to the needy people through online cash transfer mechanism during the COVID-19 pandemic. PPP is the ruling party in the province.

The senior officials of NADRA and Ministry of Interior informed The Nation that the Authority was ready to verify those beneficiaries whom the Sindh government would provide cash. “We can do verification of computerized national identity cards (CNICs) as we have done in the past,” an official of NADRA said.

He explained that NADRA could also verify the family tree of any person to check that more than one person from a single family was not benefitting from the cash relief. However, the official expressed the doubt that perhaps the PPP leadership was under the illusion that NADRA would provide data of labourers and daily wagers to the Sindh government. “The maintenance of data of labourers and daily wagers is a provincial subject, and the Authority has no such data,” he added.

Parliamentary Leader of PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman, in a statement, has censured the federal government for what she has said its lackluster response to Sindh government’s request for sharing of the data.

“Is Sindh government meant to be fighting a global pandemic on its own,” she said adding that NADRA wasn’t sharing data for relief transfers. “SMS numbers still await clearance from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, a regulator of cellular phone companies, and the Federal Board of Revenue is on a go-slow to provide tax payers’ details. Where does the federal government stand in this matter,” she questioned?

The Sindh government, in its March 29 letter written to the ministries of interior and finance, had said that the provincial government intended to “launch a Mobile Registration System for the disbursement of cash to the needy people through ‘Jazz Cash Transfer’ like mechanism during the prevailing COVID-19 situation. The plan is to register all needy people who intend to avail this facility and then get it verified by the NADRA authorities that only one person from a family gets the facility as there is likelihood that whole family may register separately,” the letter added.

Millions of labourers and daily wagers have been out of work for around last two weeks since the government ordered partial lockdown across the country to prevent further spread of coronavirus in the country.