The federal interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has directed NADRA to make arrangements to allow the local Pakistani citizens to file their CNIC applications online. At present only the overseas Pakistanis can apply online. This is indeed a very humanitarian and forward-looking step taken by the minister because National identity card is a very important document and everybody is required to possess one, and therefore it ought to be a cinch for any bona fide Pakistani to get it. But unfortunately in order to fill their coffers, the previous governments had made acquiring CNIC a very cumbersome process requiring the applicants to pay different kinds of fees besides getting knocked from pillar to post at every step. Moreover, the staff posted at the CNIC offices try to make full use of applicants’ difficulties by turning them into opportunities to fill their own pockets.

For example, at the Muzaffargarh NADRA office, the senior citizens, women, and people coming from afar have to suffer protracted waiting periods standing in long queues to the point of fainting though they can get rid of their difficulty instantly if they pay some extra money to some roaming agent. The staff also seems to be working on a go-slow policy to intensify peoples’ ordeal. All kinds of hurdles are created to break down their resistance to make them receptive to extortion. For instance, if a slight change in the maiden last name of a woman is necessitated on account of her marriage, or the B-form is submitted for new ID cards, all kinds of objections are raised by the officer in-charge to thwart the process until the applicant caves in to offer some amount of requital.

The worthy Interior minister is requested to increase public facilities at the Muzaffargarh NADRA office and pull up its staff so as to make them adopt a more humane attitude to the applicants. Also the proposed CNIC online application scheme for local citizens should be implemented immediately and extended to the passport offices as well, and the applicants should be called to the office only as a final step to have their photograph taken and their necessary documents verified. They should be allotted their turn online informing them of date and time of such attendance.

ALI MUHAMMAD,

Muzaffargarh, August 5.