Identity for sale

Published: May 22, 2011

My fellow countrymen, everything in this country is for sale. Let me elaborate.

Recently, my cousin completed his graduation and his family thought it was time to send the boy abroad for higher studies. My uncle, his father, got him all geared up with all the necessary files and documents, but little did he know he was in for a surprise. When they reached the passport office, they were told that there was a problem with my cousin’s identity card. The passport officials then directed them to the office of the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) where the real problem emerged.

My cousin and his father visited Nadra to inquire about the matter, equipped with all of their original and legal documents. There, they were told that my cousin’s identification number already existed.

Someone was and is actually living in this country as my cousin.

“But how is it possible?” were the only words that could come out of my shocked cousin’s mouth.

After investigations and multiple analyses of the situation, they were told that there was a big goof-up in Nadra’s database. To their utter bewilderment, they learnt that people can actually buy identities for a few thousand rupees very easily. And to top it off, Nadra tossed the victim’s (my cousin’s) case in the fraudulent list.

As a reaction to such intentional goof-ups, you can either go completely wild with fury or you can just lodge a complaint, the traditional way. My family went with the customary option and told the authorities that they were the real ID card holders who had all the real documents to support the claim. In return, they were asked to register their complaint and wait for the concerned department to respond.

A desperate victim would try everything, from calling all his limited resources to paying money to the authorities to get his/her problem solved as soon as possible. My cousin did all of these things but did not get any results.

He is still waiting to get his identity back.

He is still waiting to open an account in the bank which can’t be opened without an ID card.

He is still waiting to get a passport.

This whole drama proves only one thing: nothing is safe in this country. Every citizen of Pakistan has to fight for everything in order to live a peaceful life. When a country disappoints its young generation like this, it should not expect them to hold fast to the vision of the country. In fact, these are the kind of things that encourage people to go towards illegal options.

Why is the youth of our country being wasted like this?

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said:

“Pakistan is proud of her youth, particularly the students, who are nation builders of tomorrow. They must fully equip themselves with discipline, education, and by training for the arduous tasks lying ahead of them.”

Let me re-phrase the above according to the present situation of Pakistan:

“Pakistan does not give a damn about her youth, particularly the students. They must fully equip themselves with selfishness and self-centeredness for the arduous task lying ahead of them.”

If you were offended by the alteration above than let me tell  that you must embrace reality because life is not what you think it is in Pakistan.

Through this blog I would like to request the concerned authorities to take action against such malicious nation destroying activities. If the authorities are deaf and blind, then I request the media to highlight this issue and get it resolved for the betterment of our precious youth.

Mahwish Mahmood

Mahwish Mahmood

A Mass Communications graduate from Jinnah University for Women who is doing an internship at a financial newspaper.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Hajeer Sultan

    Dear Mahwish,

    I Myself Am An Eyewitness Of The Situation You Have Described … One Of My Neighbours Applying For Id Card Got His Id Block Due To The Same Reason, He Already Existed In Database! … Inorder Not To Face The Fate Of People Like Your Cousin, I Myself Applied Through An Agent For Passport (although I have got the real documents) … It Only Took Me 3 Hours To Complete Every Official Procedure Through An Agent Which Normally Takes A Week And Even Longer For The Unlucky Ones Such As Your Cousin …

    P.s. The ‘Concerned Authorities’ Are Neither Deaf Nor Blind, It Is The Money Stuffed In Their Ears And Banknote Eye-patches Which Has Turned Them So … Plus Wishing Your Cousin Luck In Getting His Identity Back :) Recommend

  • Syed Hussein El-Edroos

    Thanks for the warning. Hope your cousin’s problem is resolved soon Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Well what do you expect from the corrupt lot thats ruling us right now, They have compromise one of the best database created out side western hemisphere to the outsiders months ago. Corruption of this sort can be fought only if civil and legal community unite to overthrow them, raise awareness like you did in masses of middle and lower classes not just in the elite. The elite of this country doesn’t care about this land as most of them have a back up national identity of other countries.
    These things generate hate in the youth towards Pakistan.
    The best thing a person in the scenario your cousin is facings to go through procedures without skipping any and keep on persisting without giving up his identity. Let him think its a test he is facing in which he will pass with patience.God willing Recommend

  • parvez

    Good of you to draw peoples attention to this mess.
    Our country is fast approaching a state of paralysis or internal collapse. Those that should be involved in providing governance are doing everything but that. The sooner we hit rock bottom the better for only then will we either bounce back or disintegrate. The present state of affairs is not tenable.Recommend

  • Maleeha Khan

    o My God its tooooooooo !!! :( hope he got this issue resolved soon!Recommend

  • jawaria

    Unfortunately its the condition of our every governmental organization n its shameful for us.. hope his problem will resolve soon! Recommend

  • Waseem

    Dear Mahwish, This is Pakistan, every thing is on sale, you may visit any Govt.. Office like Nadra, Passport Office, Educational department, Protector office Etc. you will find there Some People(agents) they will come to you and ask for their services, you can offer them some money and get your desire document. This is Pakistan.Recommend

  • Habiba Younis

    thats scary, now im eying my id card with fear…..=/Recommend

  • Choas A.D

    Rightly said regarding the alteration to Jinnah’s words; Recently, The American Consul General visited universities and colleges in interior Sindh, a feat which has yet to be undertaken by our caring, concerned ministers for education and the like. They really couldn’t give a damn, as long as the liquor cabinets well stocked.Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    Sue the pants off of NADRA. Take the matters to the court.Recommend

  • Dawn
  • Cappuccino

    Pakistan Needs RTI(right to information) act.. search in google..Recommend

  • javed

    I hear so many cases like dis…even all around pakistan there is afghanistani irani bangladeshi and other countries people living in pakistan illegally…..and NADRA issue them C.NIC… and nadra is very irresponsible they give nic to any body..without verification…and if you go to make NIC you will be wait in line…5.6 hrs…if you give them RS.1000 they will be pay you special service…if you can not trust my words…you can check any nadra office… and specially you can check karachi D.H.A office which is with the gate of nisaar saheed park…
    My friend want NIC so i go wid my friend we wait 5 to 6 hrs…on that day my frnd cant registered..then we go next day again we wait 5 to 6 hrs then we got the number…
    and we see all that situation…they pay special attention to that who pay RS 1000….
    for dis government is also responsible because corruption is started to government upper level and end on lower level…Recommend

  • aqel

    There was a case in geo Fir, or something like that. in which the forces arrested some guys, who used to make fake id cards. the original id cards were purchased for Rs 10 (amount very similar to this figure) from the postman, you can see an instruction on the id, if found,put it in the post box, those lost id cards were used to make fake id card. well this is what happens in pak, from low to high level everybody is corrupt. that postman, for just few bucks puts people life on risk. God help this nation. ameenRecommend


    Dear friends
    This is Pakistan and anything can happen here. All these govt. offices are corrupt. Obviously the person who had made his fake id card had paid a huge amount of money to NADRA. Fear of ALLAH has vanished here and we just give a damn to others. No body in that office cares what problems that boy would be facing. Its just like you have being treated like a stranger in your own Home. I can only hope that GOD bless PAKISTAN and PAKISTANIS. Recommend

  • Uncle J

    Every citizen of Pakistan has to fight for everything in order to live a peaceful life

    Dear, how can one live a “peaceful” life if he’s fighting all the time? This line needs to be rephrased as:

    “Every citizen of Pakistan has to fight for everything in order to LIVE a life”


  • Ayub Ahmed

    I think such issues are urging the brilliant minds to leave the Pakistan by availing the immigration facility of developed countries and Pakistan is getting deprived of bright peoples.Recommend

  • SK

    I hope your cousin gets his identity soon. Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    @Ayub Ahmed:
    Brilliant minds will leave once they will have an identity. HA!

    Brilliant move, Democratic Revenge.Recommend

  • MN

    Oh – how sad. A rich kid with enough resources to not just study, but study ABROAD – and yet got bogged down due to a database issue at NADRA. Indeed, all authorities must immediately come to rescue the Prince – as Princess has stated here.
    And while this happens, we here in India will be having our chest open to receive with our HALAL blood spilled down our streets the likes of MOHAMMED Ajmal Kasab (and many more MOHAMMEDs).
    And Zaid Hamid & co can go on with their version of the TRUTH – the CIA-MOSSAD-RAW nexus.

  • Murtaza Ali Sharieff


    I went to get my passport renewed and I found out that for the Government of Pakistan, I had multiple personality Disorder. To elaborate, Nadra had issued 2 CNIC numbers and both to me, with identical information in them and one tiny difference, they had different OLD CNIC numbers even though this was my first CNIC.

    20,000 over the table, (read: no bribes), and 3 months later, I existed again. I know Nadra never caught onto this because I had received an American visa on this passport, amongst others, so basically, I could have easily led two lives unless I had to travel? In the great words of Homer Simpson, “DOH!”Recommend