Denying the legal rights of Pakistan citizens, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has blocked the Computerised National Identity Cards (CNIC) of thousands of genuine nationality holders from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) without providing any plausible reason. It is a failure of the authority that such a situation has prevailed since 2015, inflicting heavy financial losses on to the people of KP and FATA who are met with cruel indifference from state authorities.

This ineffective tool of blocking CNICs was used to identify Afghan immigrants and those involved in suspicious activities, however it has only served to create misery amongst Pakhtuns who possess original identity cards. Complaints have been received from people who had all their documents and national identity cards verified, when the government issued a directive to do so in 2012, and still had their cards blocked. To make matters worse, there are several agencies involved in the verification process inaccessible to the common Pakistani.

This is a huge issue for families who are not able to access their pensions or renew their passports and work visas abroad. People are unable to go out of their localities due to strict security checking at various barriers of police and security forces. Besides going for Haj and Umrah, the sale purchase of properties or seeking loan from any bank, a valid CNIC is also needed for attaining driving licences, school admissions, employment, etc.

NADRA officials have no standard of operations to assess which CNICs are to be blocked, and do so on a whim. We can berate the US government for refusing valid visas, but cancelling CNICs in FATA and KPK without cause or crime is no different. Admittedly there have been many Afghan national families who have obtained CNICs through corrupt means, but the fault lies in the culture of bribes in the state institutions. Instead, of NADRA officials, innocent citizens are being punished, not for any crime, but just because their forefathers may have had afghan ancestry.