Naqvi orders formulation of new national registration policy

Rift between interior ministry, NADRA over empowering UCs to issue, renew NICs

Says new registration policy should be devised after developing consensus among all provinces.

ISLAMABAD   -   Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Thursday directed for the formulation of a new ‘National Registration Policy’ after differences emerged between the Ministry of Interior and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) over giving powers to union councils to issue and renew national identity cards countrywide.

Chairing a meeting regarding issues related to NADRA, the minister said that the new registration policy should be devised after developing consensus among all provinces. Last week, the Authority had contradicted an order of the minister that the provision of identity card issuance and renewal facilities should be given at the UC level across Pakistan.

A NADRA spokesperson had said there were no plans to introduce new identity card facilities at UC offices hours after Naqvi issued such a direction. The interior minister in the meeting was quoted as saying that a comprehensive policy should be devised as “authenticity of identity card and citizenship is of utmost importance.”

“The policy will make citizen’s registration transparent and foolproof,” he added. The new policy will also prevent illegal registration of citizenship as the government is facing the problem of issuing identity cards and passports to foreigners due to some flaws in the previous policy, the minister said. The plan to increase NADRA centers in six major cities was also reviewed in the meeting. Apart from Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, it was decided that Multan should be included in this plan.  The plan should be finalized and implemented in next few days, so that people could avoid unnecessary rush and hassle, said the interior minister.

The minister was told that waiting time at NADRA registration centers has been reduced from 120 minutes to 75 minutes due to some recent measures in the light of his orders. He directed for further reduction in waiting time. At present, NADRA registration is 85 percent of the total population, the meeting was briefed. Secretary Interior Khurram Agha, Chairman NADRA Lieutenant General Mohammad Munir Afsar and senior officers participated in the meeting.

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