Righting wrongs: NADRA changes MPA’s religion to Christianity

Published: April 21, 2012
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"The data entry
operator who made
the mistake ‘is likely
to get a serious
warning for
committing such
a big mistake’," Statement.

"The data entry operator who made the mistake ‘is likely to get a serious warning for committing such a big mistake’," Statement.

LAHORE: 

MPA Asif Mahmood is now officially a Christian.

An official statement, issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) on Friday, said that the erroneous entry that identified Mahmood as a Muslim had been rectified.

The statement reads: “[A] high level inquiry was ordered by the authority to investigate the matter as to why such inconvenience was caused to our honourable MPA… [I]t was revealed that a NADRA data entry operator had mistakenly put his religion down as Islam because of his Muslim-sounding name.”

It goes on to say that the matter is still being investigated and the data entry operator who made the mistake “is likely to get a serious warning for committing such a big mistake.”

The issue first came to limelight after a petition was filed against the MPA for holding a minority seat despite being identified as a Muslim in NADRA records. Mahmood had stated then that despite his pointing out the mistake to NADRA, the authority had refused to entertain his request.

MPA Mahmood will receive his new computerised national identity card (CNIC) by Saturday evening or Monday morning, the latest, NADRA officials told The Express Tribune.

Naz Shoeb, the authority’s media and communications director, confirmed that the records had been rectified, “The religion [entry] has now been changed to Christianity.”

NADRA does not charge for rectifying any clerical errors (if proven), within 90 days of being issued an identity card. After 90 days, Shoeb said, the applicant is required to reapply. She added that it was the applicant’s responsibility to scrutinise the ‘filled application form’ once the data is entered.

The Lahore High Court had issued a notice to the MPA for May 8 in a petition filed by Faisal Ilyas. The petitioner had challenged Mahmood’s election to a minority seat when NADRA records identified him as a Muslim. He had also submitted that Mahmood was a Canadian national and the Constitution did not allow the citizen of another country to be elected to legislatures in Pakistan.

But Mahmood had said that he was a Christian and was identified as such on his passport.

Mahmood said that he was born into a Christian family and his father Rana Taj Mahmood had contested elections as a Christian in 1948. He said one of his brothers, Humayun Khalid Mahmood, had been elected to a union council on a minority seat in 1987. He said his two other brothers were recently retired from army posts.

Human rights activists had criticised NADRA for not correcting the mistake it had made.

Peter Jacob, executive director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, had said that he had come across other examples of NADRA misidentifying a person’s religion because of their name and not rectifying it. “It’s as simple as showing a certificate from the church, which carries a record of people of the Christian faith,” he had said.“Typographical errors costing a person his religion and then not being rectified – that’s very disturbing,” activist Khalid Shah had said.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • M Ali Khan
    Apr 21, 2012 - 11:36AM

    “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

    Quaid-e-Azam’s speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 Aug 1947.

    Need I say more?

    Recommend

  • maiden
    Apr 21, 2012 - 12:19PM

    Why only Muslim lawmakers in Pakistan? That is ridiculous.Recommend

  • Talha
    Apr 21, 2012 - 12:47PM

    Praise the Lord.

    Recommend

  • DevilHunterX
    Apr 21, 2012 - 12:59PM

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE?

    Recommend

  • Ashar
    Apr 21, 2012 - 1:45PM

    I suggest an apology be made to the Honorable MPA from the highest Government Level otherwise our liberal friends might take this matter towards forced conversion on the basis that first the religion was changed in the ID and then the MPA was forced to attend the Juma Prayers.

    Recommend

  • Zeta
    Apr 21, 2012 - 2:28PM

    @maiden:
    If you forget somehow, Pakistan IS an ISLAMIC REPUBLIC.

    Recommend

  • Umer
    Apr 21, 2012 - 7:30PM

    @Zeta:

    If you forget somehow, Pakistan IS an
    ISLAMIC REPUBLIC.

    Plenty of Muslim lawmakers in NON-ISLAMIC REPUBLICS. What system is fairer then, Secular or Islamic?

    Recommend

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