ISLAMABAD - Ministry of Interior Thursday told a Senate panel that the government was ready to issue NICOP (National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis) as well as passport to MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London and the process was under way.
Additional Secretary of the ministry and acting head of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Imtiaz Tajwar informed the Senate Standing Committee on Interior that the process of the issuance of NICOP to Altaf was under way and he would be issued card shortly. “The issue had been resolved,” he said adding a team of NADRA will soon visit the residence of MQM chief in London to get the required data.
The matter of issuance of NICOP to Altaf Hussain had hit headlines some days ago when the ministry had told in an earlier meeting of that Senate committee that it had not received an application of Altaf Hussain seeking issuance of identity card and passport to him.
MQM strongly condemning the interior ministry had said that his party chief had a token number of the application and NADRA officials had grabbed his photo and finger prints at his residence in the presence of then Pakistani High Commissioner to UK.
Later, the ministry said that the data of Altaf Hussain was not present within the NADRA system due to a technical fault.
Committee Chairman Senator Talha Mahmood raised a matter before NADRA officials saying according to a report, 82 Afghan refugees working in army, judiciary and police in Afghanistan had proof of registration (PoR) cards issued by NADRA. He said that a security agency had also written a letter to NADRA in this connection.
A director general (DG) NADRA confirmed this development. “Both the CNICs have been blocked and 80 PoRs have been marked in the system,” he said adding that as refugees cross border without informing the UNCHR centres so this was the reason they were holding PoRs. The NADRA officer held the authorities in Ministry of Frontiers and States equally responsible for not informing the authorities concerned for deregistration of the Afghan refugees upon their volunteer departure from Pakistan, who were holding temporary identity cards since 2006.
Sardar Fateh Mohammad Husseni raising an issue said, “Passport office has cancelled more than 2000 official passports issued to non-titled persons in the past ad now at international airports especially in Dubai, the parliamentarians are being stopped suspecting they have illegal passports.”
The chairman directed the DG Immigration and Passports that it should write to all embassies along with the list of those passports saying only these official passports had been cancelled and other were valid.
Tajwar told the committee that the Islamabad Safety City project had been started from April 2014 and would be completed after a year in April 2015. He said that the project had been initiated in 2009 with the estimated cost of $124.9 million.
“It will be completed at the same cost with some additional facilities as the number of security cameras had been increased from 1500 to 1944 in the project,” he added. He also informed that the capacity of the command and control area of the project would also be expanded from 2000sqr km to 2800sqr. Pakistan had no option but to give the contract to the Chinese firm as $68 million had already been paid to Chinese Exim Bank in 2009, he also said.
NADRA also informed the committee that finger prints of a number votes caste during 2013 General Elections were not readable by the authority’s system. Sardar Husseni alleged that NADRA had issued fake CNICs to Afghan refugees in Balochistan who were a security hazard to which NADRA agreed to hold an inquiry.