ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) unveiled a new scheme on Monday for issuing Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) to overseas Pakistanis, particularly those living in Europe.
According to an official statement, the cards – known as Smart National Identity Cards for Overseas Pakistani (NICOPs) – were introduced at a ceremony in London on Monday. NADRA plans to open its public facilitation centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow.
These centres will later be expanded to the rest of Europe, according to NADRA Chairperson Tariq Malik.
Malik said the authority would launch Smart NICOPs and Smart CNICs together on August 14 this year. Smart NICOPs will provide overseas Pakistanis in Europe travel and banking facilities and increased security, besides the existing visa-free entry to Pakistan.
A number of services will be provided as a result of the smart cards. The card is programmed with a match-on-card applet which confirms the biometrics of the user before granting access.
A key concern remains protecting citizens’ information and NADRA plans have been extensively tested and approved by the government. The NADRA staff will approve and issue the cards after verification of documents, and transfer data to Pakistan in real-time via secure encryption. The cards will be printed at the NADRA headquarters and will be shipped back to the UK. No one other than a select number of NADRA staff will be allowed access to the data of citizens.
“NADRA is a catalyst in transforming the ‘e-government’ agenda in Pakistan. It houses the world’s largest multi-biometric citizens’ database and has very effectively used it to bring transparency in the government’s citizen-centric initiatives,” concluded Malik.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2012.
Correction: An earlier version of the article had a formatting error which has now been fixed. The error is regretted.