KARACHI: Employees of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) boycotted their offices on Tuesday to protest the arrest of one of their colleagues by the crime branch on Monday.
According to the Karachi chapter of NADRA Employees Welfare Association, crime branch police officials of Keamari picked up their colleague, Usman Ahmed, from his house on Monday night and allegedly tortured him. Ahmed was serving as a data-entry operator at the office of the deputy commissioner East. He was helping the office computerise and revalidate arms licences.
NADRA has set up their computer systems at the offices of the commissioner and deputy commissioners to revalidate armed licences. Here, two NADRA employees look after the computer-related work.
“The police put false allegations of corruption against him to take revenge,” claimed Salman Zuberi, the association’s general secretary.
On Monday, two personnel of the crime branch came to the office of DC East and asked for computerised arms licence forms but Usman refused as the police had no licence numbers, which are mandatory to get a form, Zuberi explained, adding that the police exchanged harsh words with Usman and left. Soon after, the crime branch of Keamari picked-up Usman and accused him of issuing fake licences and corruption.
According to Zuberi, Usman and other NADRA employees are merely data-entry operators who have nothing to do with processing the forms, their scrutiny, approval or cancellation as the DC office staff takes care of this. “There are no chances our employees can be involved in corruption or issuing fake licences,” he said, adding the police also misbehaved and forcibly expelled the union representative from the police station. “Our employees’ security is the DC’s responsibility and we will resume our work on the condition that the authorities take strict action against those involved.”
Meanwhile, the director-general of NADRA Sindh Chapter, Brigadier Zahid Husain also criticised the detention of their employee. Refuting the allegations of corruption, he said their employees are entering data on the computers and the rest of the work is done by the DC office.
“We have taken up this issue with the additional chief secretary, chief secretary and the ministry of interior. We have asked them to look into the matter and resolve it.”
The additional deputy commissioner, Syed Junaid Ahmed, told The Express Tribune there might be some misunderstanding with the crime branch. “We are not looking after the issue, NADRA is looking into the matter itself,” he said, adding that NADRA issues the form free-of-charge and anyone with a copy or original licence can get the form.
For their part, the officials of the crime branch refused to comment on the issue. “I am not supposed to talk to the media,” said sub-inspector Zafar Iqbal, who was accused of picking up Usman.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2013.