National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Chairman Tariq Malik held a consultative session with an interfaith delegation led by Senator Kamran Michael and listened to the problems faced by their communities with regard to the acquisition of legal identity.
Senators Gurdeep Singh, Danesh Kumar, Anwar Lal Dean, Krishna Bai, MNA Amir Naveed Jeeva and MPA Shakeel Marcus Khokhar were also present during the consultative session.
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 citizens of Pakistan. “Interfaith people in Pakistan contribute to the political and social stability, development and prosperity of the state and are considered significant components in maintaining peace and stability in the society,” he added.
All the citizens had equal rights, he said, citing Article 20 of the Constitution which had given freedom to all citizens to practice their own religions and to run their own religious institutions.
“NADRA being the custodian of the identity of citizens of Pakistan is fully aware of its responsibility and gives priority to the registration of minorities. Therefore, we are launching a special registration campaign titled "Identity Empowerment" to speed up the registration of minorities.”
NADRA chairman 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. The purpose of the consultative session and the campaign are to create awareness amongst minority communities to obtain identity as it enabled them to exercise their social, economic and political rights.
While launching the week-long campaign of minority registration, Tariq Malik said that after assuming the charge as NARDDA's chairman a year ago, he immediately took holistic measures and dismantled barriers that hampered the registration of people from other religions. He said he created the Inclusive Registration Department so that no individual could be left behind.
With regard to registering the unregistered persons of interfaith, the chairman announced that in order to facilitate minority groups, the issuance of identity cards for the first time would be free of cost. He also announced that the marriage could be registered without nikah nama if the spouse provided biometric attestation and divorce could be registered with NADRA on the basis of an affidavit to facilitate members of minority communities.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2022.
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