Federal Investigation Agency made an arrest of the DG NADRA, Tahir Akram. FIA made the arrest after the rejection of his pre-arrest bail.
The DG NADRA got arrested after registration of FIR No. 9/16. The FIR accused him of embezzlement, resulting in a huge loss of PKR 31.24 million.
Tahir Akram got arrested because he rented a building in a non-transparent manner. FIA said that it had recovered PKR 5 million during the investigation.
In October 2016, authorities suspended the Director-General because of allegations of gross violations of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules set for renting an office building. The probe against the DG NADRA was initiated by Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan after FIA submitted an inquiry report about the matter.
Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar directed NADRA officials not to rent office buildings. Director General rented the building for PKR 4-5 million per month. The tenants paid NADRA 18 month’s rent in advance. The minister also directed NADRA to digitize its complaints system.
FIA will present Director General of National Database in the court to get a remand.
Corruption is not New in NADRA
Authorities have accused National Database and Registration Authority employees in the past of corrupt practices. The main allegation against NADRA employees was their involvement in issuing of fake identity cards.
In Sep 2016, Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar warned NADRA employees, saying the ministry will not give any undue relaxations. At that time cases against 18 employees of the department were registered for selling Pakistani Nationality to foreigners. A report published then claimed that employees had registered 45,000 foreigners as Pakistani Nationals.
NADRA employees issued national identity cards to foreigners of the countries including United States, China, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt, Uzbek, Morocco, Maldives, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Burma. The department blocked around 230,000 suspicious CNICs issued to foreigners or Pakistanis.
Why is Corruption a Security Risk?
NADRA has the power to give Pakistani nationality to any individual. It is high time the government keep a close eye on this department and eliminate corrupt elements working in it. Pakistan needs to stop corruption, an evil behind most of its problems. By curbing corruption in National Database and Registration Authority, our government will be able to control several of the security matters risking our sovereignty and the so-called war on terror.
Terrorism is negatively impacting Pakistan’s economy, peace of mind and its image abroad. Corruption is one of the major factors behind terrorist activities. The government must make an example of all the facilitators behind the coward acts of the terrorists. Unless we remove everyone responsible for facilitating terrorists in any way, directly or indirectly, we will not be able to get rid of terrorism in Pakistan.