ISLAMABAD - The National Database & Registra­tion Authority (NADRA) Tuesday extended validity of all expired computerized national identity cards (CNICs) to avoid rush at its registration centres as part of its measures to prevent the outbreak of deadly coronavirus.

According to a notification is­sued by NADRA’s Director General (Operations) Tahir Maqsood Khan, all CNICs that have expired since September 1, 2019 and those due to expire by 30th June 2020 “shall be deemed to be valid till July 1, 2020.”

The notification has instructed all regional headquarters of the authority that all those applicants visiting NADRA offices for the pur­pose of renewal of their national identity cards should be communi­cated about the decision. It further said that all relevant stakeholders should also be informed the same.

NADRA’s registration centres usually witness extraordinary rush of applicants to get them­selves registered with the nation­al registry in a country of over 200 million people. The authority itself has a database of over 140 million people.

Meanwhile, the authority has been tasked by the incumbent gov­ernment to collect data of those citizens who want to get benefit of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s dif­ferent poverty alleviation and ca­pacity building programmes like Ehsaas Kafaalat programme and Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholar­ship Programme for Youth.

In addition to that, Chairman NA­DRA Usman Y. Mobin in a Twitter statement requested the citizens to consider the use of the author­ity’s online services for “modifica­tion cases.”

An official of NADRA told The Nation that NADRA doesn’t issue CNICs through its online service but other important documents including B-form, family registra­tion certificates, National Identi­ty Cards for Overseas Pakistan­is (NICOPs) and Pakistan Origin Cards (POCs) could be got issued through this services. “We are making this service open through­out the country to avid rush at the registration centres which are very vulnerable to the spread of vi­rus besides all necessary preven­tive measures have been taken at these installations,” he said.

It is also likely that NADRA would close its registration cen­tres partially in different parts of Sindh and Balochistan. According to NADRA officials, the authority is considering to closing its centres in Karachi and Sukkur where fur­ther confirmed cases of coronavi­rus are continuously being report­ed. They further said that NADRA had received a requested from Ba­lochsitan government to close cen­tres in some six districts of the province to prevent any outbreak of the disease. “We are consider­ing to close our centres in these districts but a final decision has yet to be taken,” the official said

NADRA, the other day, had closed all of its offices in Gilgit-Baltistan till April 5 with the direction that its zonal offices will remain func­tional in the region without public dealings.