In a surprising revelation that could potentially trigger a new controversy, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) said on Friday that it couldn’t verify over 33,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from North Waziristan Agency who have registered themselves as family heads.
Authorities have registered nearly a million IDPs since the Pakistan Army launched a massive air and ground offensive against terrorists in North Waziristan – one of the seven tribal regions on the border with Afghanistan.
These IDPs were registered through 78,083 people who claimed to be heads of their families. NADRA started verifying the authenticity of their claims, and surprisingly its database could verify 44,770 family heads. The authority said it doesn’t have records of 33,313 family heads.
According to the procedure, the head of a family comes to the registration counters to get his family registered as IDP. Only after registration, they are provided government aid for their families.
“On Friday, NADRA officials briefed the authority’s chairman on the registration of IDPs at different locations. He was told that NADRA has checked the data of 78,083 family heads given by the FATA Disaster Management Authority (FDMA). Of this, 44,770 have been verified and 33,313 could not be verified by the NADRA database,” said a statement issued by NADRA.
The NADRA chairman, Muhammad Imtiaz Tajwar, visited Bannu on Friday to personally see the relief activities and registration process put in place for the Waziristan IDPs.
A NADRA official told The Express Tribune that the government has decided to set up a ‘grievance cell’ under the FDMA to resolve the issue of unverified family heads.
There are reports that several people have registered themselves multiple times to get maximum aid. Similarly, there are also reports that multiple family members registered themselves as head of one family. There are others who either do not have CNICs or who obtained cards from NADRA when it did not keep records of a family tree.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.