Duplicate ID cards: Citizens protest paying for NADRA’s negligence

Many had reapplied after being frustrated by authority’s slow processing, delivery.


Shahram Haq May 06, 2011

LAHORE:


The issuance of duplicate identity cards by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in the past is creating a hassle for those who have come to discover recently that a duplicate card has been issued against their original one, without their knowledge.


Due to the delay in the issuance of the card, many citizens had resubmitted their applications using the option of urgent delivery. They learnt that duplicate cards have been issued in their name when they applied for opening a bank account or for a passport.

Citizens repeatedly applied for cards after being frustrated by NADRA’s slow process and poor delivery system, said a NADRA official on condition of anonymity.

While cancellation of duplicate cards was free until 2007, NADRA now charges Rs10,000 for the same, the official said.

Many individuals who do not wish to pay NADRA for cancellation, resort to going to the courts to get it done for free, he added.

I was able to get my identity card only after repeated attempts back in 2003, said Jamil Mirza from Lahore. However, I was only recently informed, while opening a bank account, that there is a duplicate card issued in my name, he added.

Not only is NADRA charging Rs10,000 for something which is entirely their fault, I am apprehensive as to where my duplicate card is, said Mirza. What if it is in the hands of criminals, he added.

How were duplicates issued?

Before 2006, NADRA depended simply on the evidence of identity provided by applicants and therefore it was possible to issue dual cards, said deputy chairman NADRA Tariq Malik while talking to The Express Tribune.

The organisation adopted a multi-biometric technology in 2006-7 which would match fresh figureprints with those provided previously, making it impossible to have duplicate cards, he added.

We have caught up to 90,000 citizens with dual cards, leaving 38,000 that have yet to cancel their duplicate IDs, he said.

When asked why citizens were being charged for NADRA’s negligence, the organisation’s spokesperson said that a standard operating procedure is being instituted for duplicate cards whose details were the same as original, implying that these weren’t deliberate attempts to have a duplicate made by the citizen.

If approved, all such cards will be automatically cancelled without charging a penalty, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2011.

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