NADRA initiative: New smart card scheme for overseas Pakistanis unveiled

Published: July 17, 2012
Move will apply to citizens living in the UK and eventually, the rest of Europe.

Move will apply to citizens living in the UK and eventually, the rest of Europe.

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.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Doch
    Jul 17, 2012 - 1:29PM

    Bull !!
    NADRA’s data is already in the hands of CIA and will continue to be assessed !! But if you are a law abiding citizen, why bother??


  • haider
    Jul 17, 2012 - 3:21PM

    what about citizens living in the Gulf?


  • Tanzeel
    Jul 17, 2012 - 3:33PM

    I believe there has been a copy-paste “re-use” issue here. Minster Raisani and Balochistan issue popped in out of nowhere at the bottom or the news article.
    f Minster Raisani said that it was not the responsibility of the provincial government to provide security to Nato supplies.

    The meeting also discussed the issue
    of human trafficking through

    The chief minister directed the
    security forces to take strict action
    against those involved in human
    smuggling into Iran.

    The provincial government has written
    to the Centre to hold the next meeting
    in Quetta of the task force which has
    been constituted to check human
    trafficking and drug smuggling.

    This issue will also be taken up in a
    meeting of the Pakistan-Iran border
    commission, added the chief minister.

    Published in The Express Tribune, July
    17th, 2012


  • roadkashehzada
    Jul 17, 2012 - 3:57PM

    i paid Dhs110 for Nadra ID card, and around 400 for passport of my son. i think free first ID cards and passport for new born abroad will be good genture. first gift from pakistan will go a long wayRecommend

  • JAM
    Jul 17, 2012 - 3:59PM

    ET i think two news combined together … need re-editing…


  • shazada zahid mahmoud malik loan
    Jul 17, 2012 - 8:04PM

    It is a smart way of squeezing more money from the Pakistani origin Europeans – the time will come when smart or no smart they money will stay in Europe and not go to Pakistan at all until there is a real industrial progress in the country. Are you listening Zaradri Ji and Nawz Jan?


  • Hasan
    Jul 17, 2012 - 11:59PM

    Articles like this are always interesting because of the comments that are made at the bottom.

    Despite the fact that this is pioneering technology that has been developed indigenously, despite the fact that its roll-out to a population of over 180 million has made Pakistan a world leader in the field of national database innovation, despite the fact that smilar systems are being set-up on the Pakistani model across the Middle East, there are still some commentators who are capable only of whining and complaining like complete babies.

    It makes me wonder if Pakistan is viewed negatively because of the world around us, or because of the poisonous minds that exist within the country itself.



  • Sohail Rasheed
    Jul 18, 2012 - 3:31AM

    What about them? They are labor class. It is already a blessing for them that they get NICOP after paying high fees, even if they hold valid Urdu CNIC compulsory-ness for renewal of Passport in abroad mission, (only fee payment receipt is enough), what else they need…. yeah yeah they can get it in 3months time if machines are working fine.


  • haider
    Jul 18, 2012 - 2:24PM

    @Sohail Rasheed:
    it’s an irony the the gulf residents are ignored at every front albeit they send huge remittence to pakistan as compared with EU or US.. when you eneter Abu Dhabvi embassy you get to know that you are in Pakistan.. the people who are not able to correct the ambiance at least of the embassy ( I am sure foreign is ministry is providing adequate funds to embassy every year for maintenance and make the better look and feel) cannot be expected to deliver positively to the pakistani community.. Indian officials couple of times a week conduct radio pragrams just to give their residents info about the local laws etc.. but Pakistani’s just suffer due to lack of knowledge about local labour laws..


  • Schajee
    Jul 18, 2012 - 11:06PM

    @Hasan: a) the technology is not pioneering in any way; it is being used by hundreds of corporations worldwide to store their data on a routine basis, some of which ten times larger than ours;

    b) NADRA has done nothing with the data except store it and remotely allow a simple verification process for local telcos and banks. If only someone there had vision to realize the immense potential of the data analysis that can take place to actually help this country in planning activities

    c) the data stored is amazingly bad quality; I have helped setup the organization and have had access to the data on a regular basis. They need to perform an insane amount of data cleaning to make it useful.

    d) NADRA has lost sight of the original objectives and is now mindlessly following a set pattern without innovation. The last innovation to come out of NADRA was the time most of the old guard left some 7 years ago.

    NADRA needs to step up their game or they will be no better than the rest of the bureaucratic crap going around.


  • umer
    Jul 18, 2012 - 11:40PM

    am i missing something here? ive had a NICOP for several years now, whats so new about this one


  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jul 18, 2012 - 11:57PM

    Most of the Pakistanis living abroad possess NICOP which is a CNIC printed in English instead of Urdu.

    NADRA needs to elaborate further to overseas Pakistanis as what is a “Smart NICOP Card” and what additional features will it have that are were covered in the normal NICOP cards issued to overseas Pakistanis/CNIC printed in English?

    Any Pakistani who has a NICOP or CNIC does not require to obtain a visa for visiting the home country – Pakistan/


  • realitycheck
    Jul 19, 2012 - 12:49AM

    Clearly NADRA is ignoring citizens living in the Gulf.

    These are the people who remit HUGE sums of money. This money has bailed out Pakistan of possible debt crisis and default. Yet we are still ignored by the incompetent individuals in NADRA who seek free EU trips in disguise of ‘EU Smart card’ and ignoring those who matter.

    Pakistanis living in Gulf have been the largest contributor of remittances to Pakistan.


  • Ali
    Jul 19, 2012 - 3:43AM

    @Doch! If you are a law abiding citizen, why don’t you have CIA put a camera in your living room? Because you don’t want anyone who is not concerned to know about your life. What a moot argument, you don’t need to worry if you are law abiding citizen.


  • Hasan
    Jul 19, 2012 - 9:32PM


    a) Actually yes it is pioneering, unless you can come up with one corporation which employs 90 million people and uses the same technology.

    b) NADRA cards were used during the floods to provide fast and immediate financial benefit to many victims, which is just simple but highly effective example of how its potential is in fact being recognised.

    c) The fact that you worked there is irrelevant, as is your own subjective and baseless assessment of the data quality.

    d) NADRA has been placed among the top passport technology suppliers year after year from 2005 to 2009; at the Global Summit on Automatic Identification in 2009, NADRA’s deputy chairman was awarded for Outstanding Achievement, having been selected out of 250 others. This more or less dismantles your fourth point.

    Sometimes it seems the hardest thing is giving credit where it’s due.



  • Naushad
    Aug 24, 2012 - 6:36PM

    i am now holder of malawian passport and allready i hav overseas card to enter pak visa free but on my passport birthdate is diffrent then my overseas card (NICOPs) i need to know that if i arrived from malawi i am able to enter in pak…Recommend

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