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FIA Detains Employees of Passport Directorate Amidst Seizure of Fake Passports

LAHORE: In response to the recovery of counterfeit green passports from Afghan nationals in Saudi Arabia, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has detained three individuals, including two employees of the passport directorate.

A day earlier, reports indicated that Saudi authorities had seized 12,000 Pakistani passports from Afghan nationals.

This development coincides with the launch of a crackdown by law enforcement agencies against unscrupulous individuals involved in issuing fraudulent citizenship documents to illegal migrants in the country, mainly Afghan nationals.

The authorities have revealed that the ringleader of the counterfeit passport-making group was residing in Lahore. The agency has apprehended three individuals, including the group leader, an active officer within the passport office in Islamabad, and one retired officer. The culprits issued these passports based on forged national identity cards.

Pakistani Passports and Immigration authorities have stated that a comprehensive investigation is underway, and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) data is also under scrutiny.

It’s important to note that the government has set a deadline of November 1 for foreigners residing illegally in Pakistan to depart.

Nadra Chairman Reveals Counterfeit CNIC Issuance Scandal To Senate Committee

Meanwhile, the newly appointed chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) informed a Senate panel that some Nadra staff and external actors have been involved in issuing fake Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) to non-citizens.

During his first appearance before the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, Lt Gen Munir Afsar stated, “Additionally, illegal residents succeed in becoming part of native family trees by offering bribes to the family members.”

Chairman of NADRA.

Senator Mohsin Aziz chaired the Senate committee meeting and other participants included the caretaker Minister for Interior Sarfraz Bugti, Interior Secretary Aftab Akbar Durrani, Special Interior Secretary Nadeem Mehboob, DG Passport and Immigration Mustafa Jamal Kazi, and several other senators.

The Nadra chairman mentioned that Nadra has taken action against its employees, suspending around 84 officials for their involvement in illegal activities. However, he noted that employees often escape punishment due to the absence of laws regarding data privacy.

Afsar explained that non-nationals typically attempt to infiltrate Pakistani families through various means, including the use of old manual identity cards issued before the establishment of Nadra, identity cards of deceased individuals issued before 2004 (with unavailable biometric data), and the patronage of influential figures.

He reassured the committee that Nadra was continuously improving its verification process to issue CNICs to genuine citizens and prevent non-nationals from intruding into Pakistani families.

In a separate matter, DG Passport and Immigration Mustafa Jamal Kazi addressed delays in the passport issuance process for Mehsud tribesmen in Karachi. He explained that the delay was due to the fact that individuals belonging to the Mehsud tribe were obtaining their passports in Karachi, while the rules required citizens to acquire their first passports in their respective districts.

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