On NADRA’s merry-go-round, twins lose their identities and job offers from Dubai

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Thirty-one-year-olds Faisal Naseer and Raheel Naseer, twin brothers residing in Hassan Mujtaba Town, Malir Halt, had gotten lucrative job offers from Dubai-based firms in November 2010. Officials of the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) poured cold water on their aspirations, however, as the twins were entrapped in a case of mistaken identities and erroneous computerised national identity carda (CNIC) – all for the sake of Rs 20,000 in gratification money for NADRA officers.
Faisal and Raheel, sons of Naseer Ahmed, live in Hassan Mujtaba Town. Faisal is married while Raheel is yet to tie the knot. By profession, Faisal is a banker while Raheel now owns a small transport business.
About a year ago, Faisal and his partner were blessed with a daughter. Faisal then began to search for better employment opportunities abroad, in the hope of guaranteeing a more secure future family. He applied to various banks in Dubai, and was hopeful of finding a jon on the basis of his experience. Almost eight months ago, Faisal finally received an offer from a well-reputed bank, and was also handed the provision of a family visa. Raheel also received some good news, as even he managed to secure a job in Dubai.
While Faisal and his partner were in possession of valid passports, they needed one for their daughter. When Faisal went to the Passport Office in Karachi to start procedures for his daughter, however, he was told that he needed to get his daughter’s Form ‘B’ made first.
On November 27, 2010, Faisal headed to NADRA’s office in Shah Faisal Town, where senior branch officer Zahoor Ahmed asked him for his CNIC to initiate proceedings. At first glance, Ahmed informed Faisal that the CNIC needed to be renewed since it was expiring after three days. On closer inspection, the officer claimed that Faisal and his brother had two CNICs registered with NADRA, and that they needed to pay a penalty of Rs 10,000 each for this offence.
“I was told that the Shah Faisal office could not handle my case, and that I need to contact the office in Awami Markaz. When I went to Awami Markaz, they directed me to head to the NADRA head office,” Faisal narrated.
At the head office, an official named Shehzad claimed that both brothers had two CNICs in their name, and threatened to block their identity cards if they didn’t pay their fines. “When we protested that we had neither received two CNICs nor used them, and that paying a fine of Rs 10,000 each for nothing is sheer injustice, Shehzad simply turned around and told us to meet Zahoor Ahmed from the Shah Faisal Town branch. Shehzad told us that once Zahoor Ahmed forwards a complaint through his branch, only then can the head office investigate further,” Faisal said.
The twins thus landed back at the desk of Zahoor Ahmed, who provided two “solutions.” The first – the one that involved more legwork – was to head to NADRA’s Malir City office, and to meet a man named Shahzaib there. According to Ahmed, the Shah Faisal Town office could not forward their complaint, and that Shahzaib would be able to do so.
The second option, was to hand Rs 10,000 each to him, and not NADRA, for the early and efficient redressing of their complaint. “He told us that if you want to get your CNICs without any further glitches, Rs 10,000 each would do the trick. But we chose to go and meet Shahzaib at the Malir City office,” Faisal claimed.
By this time, however, the twins’ CNICs had been cancelled.
Shahzaib seemingly went by the book: he registered the twins’ complaint, attached copies of token numbers that NADRA had issued to them, and also claimed to have forwarded the case to the head office. It has been more than six months now, but whenever the brothers approach Shahzaib, the reply is “please wait for another two weeks.”
When Pakistan Today contacted NADRA’s Shah Faisal Town office, Senior Branch Officer Abdul Basit Soomro claimed that there was no issue with the twins’ identity cards and that they didn’t need to pay any fine of Rs 10,000 each. “The twins have been misguided. But I will take care of the issue and forward a complaint on Monday, which will be resolved in about a month,” Soomro claimed.