ISLAMABAD - The Senate Standing Committee on Interior on Monday took serious notice of a letter written by the National Database and Registration Authority to all its registration centres asking for conducting special interviews of the Pashto-speaking people before issuing CNICs to them.

The Committee that met under the chair of Senator Rehman Malik directed the Secretary Interior to probe the matter and immediately withdraw the letter.

Senator Shahi Syed raised the issue stating that the Nadra high-ups had instructed its staff in written to “send Pashto speaking [people] towards help desk for proper interview before issuance of token”— as part of procedure to issue Computerised National Identity Card (CNICs).

He termed the practice “derogatory” and “highly condemnable”, stating the Nadra had issued those directions to point out suspected aliens. The Senator viewed that any such practice being done on the basis of ethnicity or colour was condemnable.

He said that the move had hurt the feelings of the Pashtuns. Endorsing the remarks of Senator Syed, the chair also called the instruction of the Nadra in black and white as “highly condemnable”.

He directed Interior Secretary to investigate into the matter and withdraw the letter. The Senator also directed Nadra Chairman to appear before the Committee and explain as to why such instructions were passed.

“We all are equal and respectable citizens of the state of Pakistan and no such discrimination based on language, colour, creed, cast or any would be tolerable.”

He said that suspected applicant could be from any province or ethnicity so there was no logic in mentioning “Pashtuns” in particular.

The meeting considered the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Protection of Rights of Transgender Persons Bill 2017 that was moved by Senator Rubina Khalid. However, the mover withdrew the proposed Bill. The meeting also considered “the Islamabad Capital Territory (Prohibition of Interest on Private Loans) Bill, 2017” moved by Senator Sirajul Haq.

With the consent of the mover, the Bill was referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

The Committee directed that every kind of political gatherings in the capital should be restricted to a particular place. The Committee directed the chief of Islamabad police that police must show zero tolerance for drug smugglers particularly those who were supplying drugs in educational institutions.

The chair directed the police and the Ministry of Interior to form a team comprising school staff, Ministry and police for narcotics control in the educational institutes.  The meeting recommended clinical tests for the students in different educational institutions at least once a year and directed the Ministry of Interior to make arrangements in collaboration with administration of schools, colleges and universities.

Senator Rehman Malik directed the Ministry of Interior to enhance the package and compensation money for Islamabad Police martyrs and directed that compensation for Shuhada families of police should be equal across the country.

The Committee also decided to move a private Bill in the House seeking “equal” package for martyrs of the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police after coming to know that the “compensation money for the martyrs of Islamabad Police” was much less than the money being paid to the martyrs of Punjab police. The Committee also recommended and directed the Secretary Interior to acquire land of 50 kanal for Islamabad jail and a training college from the Capital Development Authority.

The Secretary Interior, Inspector-General Islamabad, the DIG Security Islamabad and officials from the Ministry of Law besides others also attended the meeting.