Stories about NADRA

Covid-19 in Pakistan – separating fact from fear

Although Pakistan’s first coronavirus cases were detected on February 26th, it is now clear that our slow trajectory has not followed that of the United States or Europe, but there is still a lot of uncertainty. One doesn’t know what to believe since we are constantly bombarded by information while glued to our smartphones and television sets during the lockdown. Are we not testing enough people? Are the confirmed cases (8,418 to date) just the tip of the iceberg? And is the number of deaths (176 in total so far) being under-reported? Is Covid-19 going to go away in ...

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The BISP purge: A much-needed review or an assault on the poor?

Pakistan does not have an illustrious track record of managing successful social protection programmes. Most of the initiatives have historically been conceived, and financed, by bilateral and multilateral international donors and can therefore, at times, be void of any connection with Pakistan’s ground realities and the actual needs of the masses. If ever an organic social protection programme is initiated, it is often cut short by changes in the government and the subsequent petty politics. The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), however, is unique in that not only is it a local initiative, but it has also stood the ...

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Yes, Chinese men are sham-marrying Pakistani girls, but CPEC is not to be blamed for it

After she finished her initial studies, her parents could no longer afford to send her to college to continue her education. What her father earned was not even enough to make ends meet. The family was living in a rented house in a slum-like dwelling. Sensing she should not be a burden on the gradually weakening shoulders of her father, she started seeking a job but was not successful at all. She was willing to do anything to ease life for her parents so they could focus on her younger siblings instead. Hira, the 19-year-old daughter of a Christian watchman from Sarai ...

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Abandoned and neglected, Sindh’s orphans continue to suffer in silence

From the moment I attended the first board meeting of the Sindh Darul Atfal, I have been in a state of shock. I fail to understand how the orphans in Sindh are beyond their constitutional right to have an education provided by the state, as per Article 25A of our Constitution. Why can these children only be restricted to a life of becoming welders, plumbers, electricians or tailors? Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these professions, but you have to acknowledge a problem if these are the only options available due to a lack of a formal education ...

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It’s 2019 and PMDC is still struggling with emails, while ‘valuable assets’ lose opportunities

Every year, between 1,000 and 1,500 Pakistani physicians leave the country to pursue their advanced medical training. As a result, there are currently thousands of Pakistani physicians working in the US, UK, Australia and the Middle East.   According to the 2016 Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) census, there are more than 12,000 active-licensed Pakistani physicians working in the US alone, while similar estimates for the UK, ranging around 2,300. To continue their academic pursuits, these physicians are required to attain temporary, and eventually permanent, registration with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). One would expect the process of obtaining ...

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Pakistan’s black economy: The case of curbing the non-filer

As the government is mulling over sustaining the curbs on non-filers to buy automobiles and property that costs over Rs500,000, the time is ripe to make a case against the non-filer category. Any scheme that is directed towards eliminating this category will undoubtedly face a strong backlash from the non-filers. They would probably argue that making everyone a filer is unnecessary in a country where 24.3% of the population is living below the poverty line; it would introduce unwanted hassle of documentation for businesses and it would waste their man-hours doing tax calculations. Moreover, it would incur costs of ...

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#ETBlogsAsks: If YOU could remove one political party, which would it be?

With General Elections upon us, we took to the streets of Karachi to ask people the political party of their choice, with a twist: our very own Game of Politics (GoP). Everyone wonders who they’ll vote for, but how often do we question who we would NEVER vote for? Talking to a variety of people, across gender, age and social class, we noticed some interesting patterns in what people said, and interestingly, even what they didn’t say. Women were largely uncomfortable with answering questions pertaining to politics and being on camera as well; amidst a group of friends with both boys and girls, ...

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Dear NADRA, your failure to recognise Pakistan’s undervalued regional languages is not surprising

I recently came across a disheartening news article which stated that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) failed to recognise a degree attained in a regional language. This applied to all the areas and provinces of Pakistan and not just Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). Now, let us take in the severity of this statement. In effect, this means that those who have done their Bachelors or Masters in Pashto or any other regional language cannot enter their education data for their national identity cards (NIC) at NADRA. The premier regulatory authority’s online forms only contain and recognise a master’s degree or Doctorate in English, Urdu and Persian. But ...

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Why has Pakistan not had a census in 18 years?

Now that the country will have a census after 18 years, doubts are already being expressed about the accuracy of the data that will be collected. Farooq Sattar, MNA and former Karachi mayor, says that the census should not be influenced by the landlords as the census commission is very close to the landlords and there should be no injustice with the people living in Sindh’s urban areas. Mir Hasil Bizenjo, the chief of the National Party and the incumbent federal minister for ports and shipping, has said that the census should be put off in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) till the four million Afghan refugees return to Afghanistan ...

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Our first transgender model and other milestones for Pakistan

As Indian activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi stomped the runway at the Lakme Fashion Week, US athlete Chris Mosier appeared in a Nike advertisement, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared an iftar meal with a transgender celebrity, a change has been brewing globally this year. But there’s still so much activism, action and inertia that is still needed in Pakistan. Let’s recount some of the trailblazing moments that shook the Pakistani society, empowering the notions surrounding transgender persons: June 2009 In order to ensure their rights, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the first census for transgender people to take place. However, ...

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