ISLAMABAD - The Interior Ministry on Wednesday directed the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to submit concrete proposals so that a ban on issuance of Pakistan Origin Cards (POCs) to foreign spouses of persons of Pakistani origin could be revisited.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior is also working on a proposal to separate Immigration Department from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), and to establish new Immigration and Border Management Department on modern lines.

The Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has directed NADRA Chairman Usman Mubeen to submit proposals within 24 hours for resolving the issue of POCs, a statement issued by the Interior Ministry said.

The minister was chairing a high-level meeting that was attended among others by secretary interior, advocate general Islamabad, chairman NADRA, chief commissioner ICT and senior officers of the ministry as well as the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The Nadra had banned issuing POCs to foreign spouses of persons having Pakistani origin during the last two years keeping in view the concerns raised by the security agencies of the country.

Under the relevant rules, the NADRA can issue POCs to those persons and their spouses who have revoked Pakistani nationality to get nationality of that country, which has no dual nationality agreement with Pakistan. The chair has also directed secretary interior to prepare a comprehensive strategy paper within a week for the separation Immigration Department from the FIA.

He said that the immigration and border management all over the world were independent and specialised subjects that needed to be separated from the FIA, which was primarily tasked with investigation of white-collar crimes.

The meeting was of the view that a modern Immigration and Border Management Department would streamline the process of effective monitoring of Pakistan’s entry and exit points through air, sea and land routes.

Taking notice of exaggerated reports about the Nadra’s fee structure being charged from the overseas Pakistanis for issuance of National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP), the minister directed the NADRA chairman to clarify its position on all forums especially in the suo motu case pending before the Supreme Court.

Nadra Chairman Usman Mubin, while briefing the meeting said that the authority had not increased its service charges in this regard since 2012.

Under the present government, the validity period of each card was significantly enhanced but the total cost of the card has in fact reduced, he remarked.

Over the issue of land acquisition case in Tama Morian for a housing society for lawyers, the ICT Administration informed the meeting that it could not acquire land for the purpose of private housing society under the law.

The interior minister, while directing the secretary interior and the chief commissioner to submit legal position before the court, observed that the instance of land acquisition by ICT Administration for a private housing society would set a bad precedent with negative administrative implications.

He said that such a practice would be tantamount to misuse of state authority at the cost of the rights of genuine land owners.