Chairman NADRA Tariq Malik held a consultative session with an interfaith delegation led by Senator Kamran Michael here at NADRA Headquarter, Islamabad.
Senator Gurdeep Singh, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Anwar Lal Dean, Senator Krishna Bai, MNA Amir Naveed Jeeva and MPA Shakeel Marcus Khokhar were also present during the consultative session.
The Interfaith delegation presented the problems faced by their communities with regard to the acquisition of legal identity.
While addressing the delegation, Mr. Tariq Malik, Chairman NADRA, reaffirmed that the rights of persons belonging to a national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minority are as important as the rights of any other citizens of Pakistan.
He said, “Interfaith people in Pakistan contribute to the political and social stability, development and prosperity of the state and are considered significant components in maintaining peace and stability in the society.”
We are all equal citizens of this country and we all have equal rights. Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan gives freedom to all citizens to practice their own religion and to run their own religious institutions, Mr. Malik added.
He said, “NADRA being the custodian of identity of citizens of Pakistan is fully aware of its responsibility and gives priority to the registration of minorities. In this regard, we are launching a special registration campaign titled “Identity Empowerment” to speed up the registration of minorities.”
Chairman NADRA informed the delegation that NADRA had so far registered 4.43 million persons belonging to minority communities including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and other citizens belonging to other religions.
It is pertinent to mention that the purpose of the consultative session and the focused campaign is to create awareness amongst minority communities to obtain Identity as it enables them to exercise their social, economic and political rights.
While launching the week-long campaign of minority registration, Mr. Tariq Malik said that after assuming the charge as Chairman of the Authority an year ago he immediately took holistic measures and dismantled barriers that hampered the registration of people from other religions. He said he created the Inclusive Registration Department in this regard so that no individual could be left behind.
With regard to registering the unregistered persons of interfaith, Chairman NADRA announced that in order to facilitate minority groups issuance of identity cards for the first time will be free of cost. He further announced that the marriage can be registered without nikah nama if the spouse provides biometric attestation and divorce can be registered with NADRA on the basis of an affidavit to facilitate members of minority communities. He said that NADRA has started a helpline to seek help and guidance regarding NADRA policy and procedures and said that they will integrate NADRA helpline with the Ministry of Human Rights helpline. He announced a special counter and preferential treatment at NADRA registration centres to facilitate people of different religions.