Pakistan has emerged as one of the very few countries in the World where 90 per cent of the adult population is registered through most secure biometric technology introduced by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
“We are striving to attain 100 per cent registration and if we hit 94% we are as good as 100% because on average 6% turns 18 every year” said Tariq Malik, Deputy Chairman NADRA.
While stating the benefits of registration, He observed that biometric identification of every Pakistani citizen of this country would bring transparency in all social political and economic affairs besides providing the vital health, education and social information for initiating targeted development programs.
“We have issued 79.13 million ID cards so far against eligible adult population of 87.89 million. Overall registration increase in last two years (2008-2010) is 60% whereas female registration growth is 88.7% when compared against previous two years (2006-2008)” said Tariq. He said the registration of adult male population has already reached 99 per cent but female adult registration is still 77 per cent due to cultural inhibitions. We have overcome many hurdles in this regard as the overall registration in one of the most conservative province of Kyber Pakhtunkwa has already reached 99 per cent. He said the people of this province realized the benefits of registration to avail many social benefits.
Registration levels in different regions are as following:
- Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 99 per cent
- Punjab: 91 per cent
- Gilgit-Baltistan: 88 per cent
- Sindh: 84 per cent
- Baluchistan: 74 per cent.
Paying tribute to the NADRA employees he said they showed remarkable dedication in increasing the registration despite bad law and order situation since 2008.
He said some important government initiatives also facilitated increase in issuance of Computerized National Identity Cards. “Prime Ministers decision to provide free CNICs attracted 1.7 million people and BISP attracted poorest of poor to get registered” added Tariq Malik.
He said successful cash disbursement using biometric technology and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced People as an after math of SWAT operation was also possible due to accurate data available about the population with NADRA. Banks in Pakistan he added are flourishing because they know the identity of all their account holders. He said crimes have been unearthed after tracing the identity of criminals’ mobile phones that are issued after verification of their CNICs. “It is high time that the elections should be held on CNIC basis. This would definitely bring transparency in elections” said Tariq.
NADRA opened many new registration centers, increased its fleet of mobile registration vans and established make shift semi mobile registration centers to cope with the surge in far flung areas. “Our mountaineers are trekking in mountain searching for unregistered population.” Tariq added.