ISLAMABAD: The corrupt practices through which a number of foreign terrorists have been able to obtain national identity cards has allegedly allowed spies from neighbouring countries to secure legitimate identification documents, the federal government was informed recently.
During a recent closed-door meeting, members of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and intelligence agencies told Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar that fake identity cards have been issued to Afghan nationals, some of whom worked with Indian intelligence agencies.
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The matter regained prominence in the wake of a drone strike on Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in Naushki, Balochistan. Officials had recovered a Pakistani ID card and passport from Mansoor’s charred body though it bore the name of Wali Muhammad. It prompted Nisar to admit during a press briefing on May 25 that “strategic, security and national interests of the country have been compromised to a great extent”.
While Nisar did not share details of specific cases, a senior official who attended the meeting at Nadra headquarters says that they had discovered an Afghan national Khalil Gul who had secured a CNIC by bribing Nadra officials.
According to a document presented to the interior minister, available with The Express Tribune, Khalil was tracked down by security agencies after discovering his ties with Khawaja Noor, another Afghan national who had bribed his way to get a CNIC. Both of them were associated with a covert Indian intelligence operation that was being run from the Indian Embassy in Doha, Qatar.
Not only that, Khalil possessed 17 other CNICs, apparently on names of his family members. But when security forces probed the cards they discovered that the addresses listed on them were fake.
Other documents available with The Express Tribune show that intelligence officials had written to Nadra about CNICs being sold to foreigners in places like Karachi, Lahore, DI Khan for bribes of Rs10,000 to Rs20,000.
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“These and other similar stories were shared with the interior minister in a bid to inform him about the gravity of the situation,” said the official who attended the high-level meeting last week.
Faced with this evidence and documents recovered from Mansour, Nisar announced re-verification of CNICs of 25 million registered Pakistani families within six months. The plan was approved on Monday.
As officials cracked down on Nadra staffers linked with giving Mansour a CNIC, a senior Nadra official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity that a fact finding body has been formed to ascertain which staffers were involved in the “heinous crime” of selling national identity cards to foreign spooks.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2016.