NADRA has been doing a good job. I realized this when I got CNIC (Computerized National Identity Cards) made for my entire family in a decent environment in almost a matter of few hours and got them issued after the promised time without any issue – except for the snapshot that always come up funny.
To a large extent, it is widely reported, NADRA has done its initial bit of assignment – digitizing large portions of the national demographic records (so far, 82 million citizens had been registered). The massive amount of hardware, software and humanware that NADRA has accumulated for quickly achieving the required results are now posing a justification challenge. The 11,000 staff, 400 National and 5 International Offices need to have a reason to continue getting a paycheck at the month end!
And this is how they are planning a justification case (source: Dawn of Sept 27, 2006):
“Although the main business of Nadra is related to issuance of NICs and machine readable passports, the strengths of its professionals can be used for commercial projects,” he [PM Shaukat Aziz] said while urging Nadra to make partnerships with other companies and groups for export of technology-based products.
It is already been tipped off that NADRA would soon be providing ‘financial transaction services’ to banks in Pakistan.
NADRA Technologies, as the project is being passionately called has a number of potential ‘fault lines’:
- Mixing data that belongs to Government and the one that belongs to businesses is a wrong idea in the first place. Yes, I know physical mix-ups will be prevented by such and such space-aged technology but still, its the people who ultimately control, manage (and mismanage!) machines.
- Government projects and facilities are designed to be not-to-profit for good reasons. Unless NADRA is Google (which we all know it is NOT), challenging this conventional wisdom can only be considered misplaced excitement.
So next time you see your CNIC details posted at a hacker group’s website, you know you’ve been forewarned!