National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) justified charging ‘ an exorbitant fee’ before the Supreme Court on Tuesday for the issuance of National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) and cancellation of Pakistan Origin Card (POC).
NADRA claimed that price of the new chip-based smart identification card is high due to its distinctive features.
Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took notice of the situation and issued an order which required NADRA representatives to submit a report in connections with suo motu.
The matter was to be discussed today, by a three-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice himself. Col Mohammad Sagir requested the authorities to reflect on the fact that previously NADRA charged 10,000 rupees to generate a POC but recently, the organization ramped up the prices to 15,000 rupees, whereas the POC cancellation fee was 31,500 rupees.
In response, NADRA submitted a two-page report, in which the organization claimed that fees have gradually been increasing in the past 16 years in accordance with visa policy on reciprocal basis. There are two options for overseas Pakistanis who have surrendered their nationality or carry dual citizenship. Either they can get a POC/NICOP or apply for a visa. The former is cheaper, NADRA said.
It was revealed that the new chip-based NIC is equipped with 36 security features which will help in preventing identity breach of the citizens. Moreover, it is safe from all types of forgery.
The report also stated that the card material is durable and is made out of poly-carbonated material. The expiry date of the card is 10 years, giving three additional years of visa-free entry to the card holders into Pakistan. Previously, the card expired after seven years.
NADRA also stated in their report that the organization has launched an online application website in 2015. Applicants can apply without having to visit the embassies or the NADRA centers.
Previously the processing time for the cards in question was lengthy, but now the fresh applications take about 22 minutes. The card can be delivered in 7 to 10 days.
The total number of successful applications process was also mentioned in the report, which was around 230,000.