ISLAMABAD    -    The Senate Standing Committee on Interior Friday directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to open its offices in those countries where large number of overseas Pakistanis are residing and facing difficulties in getting their identity cards.

The committee also directed the national registration body to facilitate the far off areas of Balochsitan for issuance of their computerised national identity cards (CNICs) either through deployment of mobile registration vans or establishment of new offices in the province.

The committee that met under the chair of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Rehman Malik directed the Ministry of Interior and Chairman NADRA Usman Yousuf Mobin to open offices at least in Mali, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique to facilitate the overseas Pakistanis in maximum. “I have received dozens of complaints from overseas Pakistanis living in these four countries that they are facing unavoidable problems in getting their CNICs and registering their children,” he said.

He said Pakistanis living there have to travel to other adjacent countries for getting their documents.

In his response, the chairman Nadra told the committee that Supreme Court in its judgment had restricted the authority that it could only open up to 10 offices abroad and the direction of the committee would be tantamount to violation of the apex court order. He said that online facility to apply for CNIC was available for all overseas Pakistanis and they could apply for their registration documents through it.

However, the chair viewed that people used to face problems while applying online and Nadra should depute at least one official in Pakistan’s each foreign mission abroad to facilitate the people online. “This will not be a violation of the court judgment,” he said.

The Chairman Nadra asserted that the local embassy itself can employ someone for the facilitation of the Pakistanis and Nadra should not be involved in the process.

The committee expressed concerns over the closures of Nadra offices in some areas of Balochistan. The committee directed the Ministry of Interior to reopen these offices there.

Senator Malik said that the committee will visit passport and Nadra offices in Balochistan during its visit to the province. He also directed that keeping in view the current security situation, more security features may be included in CNIC, adding that he had already proposed the conduction of DNA test before issuance of CNIC and mentioning of blood group on the card. The chair constituted a sub-committee headed by Senator Kalsoom Parveen to conduct meetings with Nadra and formulate necessary recommendations for reopening of offices in Balochistan.

The committee also strongly condemned the terrorist attack in Quetta’s Hazarganji market wherein at least 20 innocent people, mostly belonging to Hazara community were killed and dozens injured. The committee sought report from Government of Balochistan over the incident and announced that its next meeting will be held in Quetta to get a briefing on the killing of people of Hazara Community.

Senator Malik said the Shia Hazara community of Balochistan was being targeted continuously since long and it was time to bring an end to their killings by taking fierce actions against terrorists and banned outfits.

Senator Sardar Shafiq Tareen said that it was not for the first time that Shia Hazara community had been targeted but they were under continuous attacks by the terrorists. Senator Kauda Babar said involvement of foreign hand in terrorist activities inside Balochistan must not be ignored.

The committee directed the Ministry of Interior to submit a comprehensive report on Quetta blast and also apprise it about the actions so far taken against the terrorists and banned outfits involved in Hazara Killings. It was also directed to submit a report about the release of activists of banned outfits in near past in Balochistan.

DIG Police Sindh Sharjeel Kharal while briefing the committee about death of five siblings and their paternal aunt at the government run guest house Qasr-e-Naz in Karachi informed the phosphine chemical which was used as pesticide was the cause of deaths of ill-fated family members. He stated that so far nine people had been taken into custody and the police was further investigating the matter.