ISLAMABAD - Chairman National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Tariq Malik on Monday held a consultative session with an interfaith delegation led by Senator Kamran Michael. Senators including Gurdeep Singh, Danesh Kumar, Anwar Lal Dean, Keshoo Bai, and MNA Amir Naveed Jeeva and MPA Shakeel Marcus Khokhar were also present during the consultative session. The interfaith delegation presented the problems faced by their communities with regard to the acquisition of legal identity. While talking to the delegation members, Chairman NADRA Malik reaffirmed that the rights of persons belonging to a national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minority were as important as the rights of any other citizen of Pakistan. “We are all equal citizens of this country and we all have equal rights. Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan gives freedom to all citizens to practice their own religion and to run their own religious institutions,” added. He said that NADRA being the custodian of identity of citizens of Pakistan was fully aware of its responsibilities and gave priority to the registration of minorities. In this regard, we are launching a special registration campaign titled ‘Identity Empowerment’ to speed up the registration of minorities. Malik informed the delegation that NADRA had so far registered 4.43 million persons belonging to minority communities including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and other citizens belonging to other religions. It is pertinent to mention that the purpose of the consultative session and the focused campaign is to create awareness amongst minority communities to obtain identity as it enables them to exercise their social, economic and political rights. On the occasion, the chairman NADRA announced that in order to facilitate minority groups, issuance of identity cards for the first time will be free of cost. He further announced that the marriage can be registered with NADRA without nikah nama if the spouse provides biometric attestation and divorce can be registered on the basis of an affidavit to facilitate members of minority communities. He said that NADRA has started a helpline to seek help and guidance regarding the authority’s policy and procedures and said that they would integrate it with the Ministry of Human Rights’ helpline. He announced a special counter and preferential treatment at NADRA registration centres to facilitate people of different religions.