With the controversy surrounding ethnic profiling in search operations raging across the country, the government disclosed in the Senate on Monday that over 300,000 CNICs had been blocked on suspicion, and almost a third of them belonged to foreign nationals.
Sharing these figures for the first time in the Senate, Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rahman dispelled the impression that the number of blocked CNICs was in millions. The latest figure was 345,510, he said, adding that 175,000 of these were awaiting verification by intelligence agencies while over 52,000 CNICs were awaiting clearance by Nadra. He said 117,459 CNICs had been seized from foreign nationals.
Nadra has a huge volume of data on Afghan nationals who had applied for proof of registration (POR), Mr Rahman explained while pointing out that the CNICs had been blocked after the computer system identified the holders’ resemblance through facial recognition or thumbprint records. He said no one was allowed to block a person’s CNIC on their own whim.
Previously, joint verification committees would verify the credentials of people carrying dubious CNICs. However, this was a slow process, he said. In April last year, 88 zonal boards and eight regional boards were formed to handle the task instead, he said.