The meeting of the Senate Functional Committee on problems of Less Developed Areas was held on Thursday. Convened by Senator Usman Khan Kakar; the meeting was attended by Senator Sardar Muhmmad Azam Khan Musakhel, and senior officers of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and departments attached to it.
The meeting commenced with a briefing by Additional Secretary MOI Muhammad Siddiqui who was of the view that the Ministry had made great strides in resolving security issues in Pakistan, especially in sensitive areas of FATA and Balochistan, which is its primary area of work.
Senator Sardar Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel differed with these claims and said as per assertion of the MOI, how come Balochistan was still infested with terrorism and major attacks as that in Mastung are nonetheless taking place. He asserted that if there is relative peace in Balochistan it is because of the tribal system and customs that are working towards restoring peace in the province.
While discussing the progress of NADRA it was revealed that in the past five years NADRA had issued 22, 853,785 fresh CNICs across the country out of which 12684165 identity cards were issued to males and 10169620 CNICs were issued to females. Special initiatives have been taken to maximize the registration of females. This was done to reduce the gap between male and female registrations. It was also informed to the Committee that NADRA had successfully completed fresh women registrations in collaboration with Election Commission of Pakistan and Friday is being observed as Female Day at all NADRA Registration Centres. Fourteen Female Registration Centres have been built in big cities and separate female counters in most of the centres have been created.
In addition to this, on directions of the Ministry of Interior a massive exercise was started in 2016 to re-verify the CNICs issued to the citizens of Pakistan. A total of 101,254350 CNICs have been verified during the process.
Discussing CNIC issues that people in Balochistan and FATA areas experience, Convenor Committee Senator Usman Khan Kakar asserted that there were numerous Identity Cards that have been blocked which have caused the population in these areas severe grievance. He further stated that NADRA needs to resolve this issue at the earliest as the basic right of citizenship of the people of this area is being violated; consequently adversely affecting every aspect of the lives.
While discussing problems that people face while having their passports issued in these areas, it was revealed that in the last five years 73 offices have been established in all of Pakistan, most of which are in Balochistan. It was further revealed that all 34 districts of Balochistan now have one passport office each. There are two offices in Quetta. Five new offices have been established in FATA and all 13 districts in Gilgit Baltistan have one passport office each.