ISLAMABAD: Parveen Akhtar has a problem. The married woman from Shakargarh has never met the man she is apparently married to, and not for the atypical set of reasons associated with an arranged marriage. She never met him, because she never actually married him.
Akhtar applied for a new CNIC bearing her husband’s name — Irshad Ahmed. What she got back was one identifying her husband as Usman Yousaf Mobeen.
Mobeen is the chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), and apparently, was not pleased to learn he had been married off in secret.
NADRA has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons, including issuing CNICs to foreigners, including militants.
That revelation led to the termination of nearly 150 NADRA officials, including a grade-20 officer.
Although this error might not seem to be of the same magnitude, it has cost NADRA Assistant Director Mohammad Boota his job.
The data entry blooper made by Boota’s subordinate has been seen by NADRA high-ups as an act of “serious misconduct” as the official was in-charge of the registration centre where the error occurred, and apparently did not give due consideration to the document before approving it.
While entering data from Akhtar’s forms, the data entry operator ‘accidentally’ listed Mobeen as her husband.
Boota claims the mistake was “neither deliberate nor intentional, but a human error”.
In response, the show-cause notice issued to Boota by NADRA Administration DG Dr Tahir Akram — the inquiry officer — reads, “You being in-charge of NRC Shakargarh, approved the tracking ID… of a female applicant, who applied for CNIC in modification category on May 5, 2015. During data entry, her husband’s name was entered as Usman Yousaf Mobeen.”
It adds that “The conduct displayed by you is highly prejudicial to the good order of the service.”
Data entry mistakes on CNICs are relatively common and can usually be rectified easily. Sometimes people may need court orders as proof for corrections to CNICs where requisite documents to identify the error — such as B-forms for correction of date of birth — are unavailable.
“It is most unusual to impose a major penalty such as termination from service in such cases,” said a senior NADRA administration wing official.
Boota served NADRA for 13 years prior to his unceremonious departure.
The data entry operator who actually committed the error wrote in her confession statement said that Boota stood next to her and ordered her to enter the NADRA chairman’s name in the husband column of the form.
She was only given a “minor penalty”.
Boota claims that during the course of hearing, he was not heard out properly and that his reply was not given due consideration by the authorised officer.
Meanwhile, a NADRA media wing officer requesting anonymity said besides the inquiry under which Boota was sacked, he was also allegedly caught on camera accepting a bribe to issue a CNIC to a ‘foreign national’.
The incident was a sting operation and the ‘foreign national’ was actually a NADRA vigilance cell official.
“The whole event was caught on camera,” he said, adding that due to Boota’s dismissal for the data entry issue, an inquiry based on the sting was never initiated.
To the latter accusation, Boota claims he can be seen on tape trying to refuse the bribe, adding the sting was “a case of entrapment”, as some high-ups wanted him out at any cost.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2015.
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