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New NADRA Smart ID cards:Another way to invade privacy

July 22, 2012 4 comments

I have just read a news on NADRA’s plan to launch smart NIC card. They are starting it with overseas Pakistanis which will eventually be enforced on locals as well.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-120967-Nadra-introduces-smart-ID-cards-for-overseas-Pakistanis

http://www.onepakistan.com/finance/news/general/10139-nadra-set-to-launch-new-smart-nic-for-overseas-pakistanis-in-europe.html

I feel this will be a real big attack on privacy and they will use it for tracking/monitoring people they want to monitor. This will be bad news for honest journalists, judges and any other person who doesn’t want to give up his/her freedom. They will share the information with their foreign masters like they already do for many other things.

Please consult with some honest person who is an expert in the area (and also not a puppet of security agencies) and start an awareness campaign through media on this issue. Its not necessary to accept any thing in the name of technology. Privacy is a right given to us by our religion and constitution and we shouldn’t give it up so easily in the name of welfare services, security or whatever fancy terms governments use to enslave their population.

Also if you link it with the fact that people like Rehman Malik run private security and intelligence firms overseas then things will look worse.

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Nadra introduces smart ID cards for overseas Pakistanis — The News

by Murtaza Ali Shah

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-120967-Nadra-introduces-smart-ID-cards-for-overseas-Pakistanis

LONDON: The official launch of the National Database and Registration Authority’s new ID Card — the Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) — descended into a complete ruckus on Sunday night as Pakistani journalists and community leaders walked out of the launch ceremony.

Tariq Malik, Nadra’s new Director General, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan and various senior Nadra officials from Pakistan and Europe were present for the launch, dinner and musical evening which was attended by over 200 invited guests.

Tariq Malik, Nadra’s new Director General who took charge a couple of days ago, told the gathering that the Smart card is a 3rd Generation chip-based identity document that is built according to international standards, has over 36 physical security features that uses latest encryption codes making it the safest card in the world.

He informed the audience that Nadra plans to open its public facilitation centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow and later will expand into the rest of Europe. But ugly scenes erupted when Nadra officials refused to take questions from media and community leaders about various aspects of the new scheme and made it to the dinner hall, where singer Raheem Shah performed with a live band.

Journalists protested that there were too many controversial and critical issues surrounding the launch of the new scheme and it was important to ask searching questions and that Nadra officials must address the anxiety of the community as they had deep-rooted security concerns about their personal details being manipulated and fiddled with.

It was then agreed that Tariq Malik will answer questions of journalists after the dinner. The new Nadra DG gave an assured performance before the journalists and did his best to provide satisfactory answers but he admitted that there were some areas about the bidding process and the takeover by the UK based company in which he had no involvement and decisions were made at the top. But he assured that stringent action will be taken against the partners if they failed to meet the strict criteria set by the Nadra, failing which their contract will be terminated after a year.

It also became clear during the launch that the company that International Identity Services (UK) Limited (“IIS”) made responsible to assist Nadra actually belongs to the son of Mian Afzal Khalid, a veteran Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader in the UK who is also Chairman of PPP’s Federal Council (UK).

It was not immediately clear how, of all the people and companies, the contract went into the hands of a diehard PPP leader. Mian Khalid, who was present at the launch along with other PPP leaders, told The News that he had nothing to do with his son’s business. “Politics has played no part and my son has secured the contract on the basis of merit,” he said.

Tariq Malik said that Smart Nicop will provide 2.5 million overseas Pakistanis in Europe with priority travel, banking facilities and increased security as well as the existing visa-free entry to Pakistan.

He said Nadra’s top concern remained protecting public information and no one other than a select number of Nadra staff will be allowed access to the data of citizens.After The News highlighted the issue of the Nadra contract for issuance of the Nicop cards, Nadra was at pains to point out that IIS has been awarded the contract to provide marketing and support facilities for the centres, with all processing for the Smart Nicop being carried out by Nadra, with approximately 500,000 Pakistani holders of the existing card in Europe will eventually need to upgrade.

But it was not clear immediately whether the community will happily pay more than three times the amount it is currently paying for the same services. Pakistanis in Europe have felt the fee was raised without consulting them in times of austerity when economic conditions in Western Europe have made Pakistanis amongst the worst hit migrant groups.

Both Nadra and IIS said that the decision to make IIS a partner was followed by a public tender “under internationally recognised procedures and was made after extensive consultation with key stakeholders” but the latest discovery of a senior PPP leader’s involvement in the scheme will raise further questions about the whole tender and bidding process, therefore the questions around the whole scheme are unlikely to go away.

Tahir Khalid, head of operations for IIS said in a statement: “The new Nicop card is a milestone for Pakistan. The launch has been a carefully considered journey for IIS and Nadra, which was necessary given the highly sensitive nature of this product. IIS has worked to meet all the demands of Nadra without compromising data security and we are looking forward to promoting the benefits of Smart Nicop to local Pakistani communities.”

Murtaza Ali Shah
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
From Print Edition
 154  18  3  5

LONDON: The official launch of the National Database and Registration Authority’s new ID Card — the Smart National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (Nicop) — descended into a complete ruckus on Sunday night as Pakistani journalists and community leaders walked out of the launch ceremony.

Tariq Malik, Nadra’s new Director General, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan and various senior Nadra officials from Pakistan and Europe were present for the launch, dinner and musical evening which was attended by over 200 invited guests.

Tariq Malik, Nadra’s new Director General who took charge a couple of days ago, told the gathering that the Smart card is a 3rd Generation chip-based identity document that is built according to international standards, has over 36 physical security features that uses latest encryption codes making it the safest card in the world.

He informed the audience that Nadra plans to open its public facilitation centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow and later will expand into the rest of Europe. But ugly scenes erupted when Nadra officials refused to take questions from media and community leaders about various aspects of the new scheme and made it to the dinner hall, where singer Raheem Shah performed with a live band.

Journalists protested that there were too many controversial and critical issues surrounding the launch of the new scheme and it was important to ask searching questions and that Nadra officials must address the anxiety of the community as they had deep-rooted security concerns about their personal details being manipulated and fiddled with.

It was then agreed that Tariq Malik will answer questions of journalists after the dinner. The new Nadra DG gave an assured performance before the journalists and did his best to provide satisfactory answers but he admitted that there were some areas about the bidding process and the takeover by the UK based company in which he had no involvement and decisions were made at the top. But he assured that stringent action will be taken against the partners if they failed to meet the strict criteria set by the Nadra, failing which their contract will be terminated after a year.

It also became clear during the launch that the company that International Identity Services (UK) Limited (“IIS”) made responsible to assist Nadra actually belongs to the son of Mian Afzal Khalid, a veteran Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader in the UK who is also Chairman of PPP’s Federal Council (UK).

It was not immediately clear how, of all the people and companies, the contract went into the hands of a diehard PPP leader. Mian Khalid, who was present at the launch along with other PPP leaders, told The News that he had nothing to do with his son’s business. “Politics has played no part and my son has secured the contract on the basis of merit,” he said.

Tariq Malik said that Smart Nicop will provide 2.5 million overseas Pakistanis in Europe with priority travel, banking facilities and increased security as well as the existing visa-free entry to Pakistan.

He said Nadra’s top concern remained protecting public information and no one other than a select number of Nadra staff will be allowed access to the data of citizens.After The News highlighted the issue of the Nadra contract for issuance of the Nicop cards, Nadra was at pains to point out that IIS has been awarded the contract to provide marketing and support facilities for the centres, with all processing for the Smart Nicop being carried out by Nadra, with approximately 500,000 Pakistani holders of the existing card in Europe will eventually need to upgrade.

But it was not clear immediately whether the community will happily pay more than three times the amount it is currently paying for the same services. Pakistanis in Europe have felt the fee was raised without consulting them in times of austerity when economic conditions in Western Europe have made Pakistanis amongst the worst hit migrant groups.

Both Nadra and IIS said that the decision to make IIS a partner was followed by a public tender “under internationally recognised procedures and was made after extensive consultation with key stakeholders” but the latest discovery of a senior PPP leader’s involvement in the scheme will raise further questions about the whole tender and bidding process, therefore the questions around the whole scheme are unlikely to go away.

Tahir Khalid, head of operations for IIS said in a statement: “The new Nicop card is a milestone for Pakistan. The launch has been a carefully considered journey for IIS and Nadra, which was necessary given the highly sensitive nature of this product. IIS has worked to meet all the demands of Nadra without compromising data security and we are looking forward to promoting the benefits of Smart Nicop to local Pakistani communities.”

Hypocrite, coward Musharraf blows hot air but will never return–>Ansar Abbasi article in TheNews

October 13, 2010 7 comments

Source :  http://www.thenews.com.pk/02-10-2010/National/7849.htm

By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Musharraf, you are a hypocrite. You are the Abdullah Bin Ubai of our times. Each and every word that you have uttered on the occasion of launching of your party, sounded simply hollow because your dirty past is like an open book before us. We hate you for what you did to our country, our people and our brothers in Islam.

It is unbelievable that a man like this ageing commando, whose stink cannot be avoided from even thousands of miles, because of his tainted past and whose long list of crimes against Pakistan, its people and humanity have no limit, had the cheeks to promise a great future like his past, as if we lived in heaven during his tenure.

Pervez Musharraf’s remarks show that the self-exiled ousted dictator continues to live under the illusion as if he is still an extra-constitutional ruler of this country and perhaps the most popular leader here. One wishes that such illusions go on with him to enable him to come to Pakistan and face the trial for his long list of crimes, some of which conspicuously include the abrogation of Constitution, the selling of Pakistani nationals including the country’s daughter Dr Aafia Siddiqui to America for dollars, the Lal Masjid massacre, Nawab Akhbar Bugti’s murder, the May 12, 2007 bloodshed, removal and arrest of respected independent judges of the superior judiciary, strangulation of the Pakistani media and his post-9/11 policies that compromised the country’s sovereignty and led to all-time high US interference in our internal affairs.

How can he raise the slogan of “Pakistan first” when for his own self and to perpetuate his rule, he first toppled an elected government in Oct 1999 and then imposed extra-constitutional emergency in Nov 2007 and removed all independent judges? How can he promise the moon to the people in future when he did not produce even one single watt of electricity, constructed no dam, did nothing to ameliorate the lot of the poor, politicise the bureaucracy like never before during his nine-year misrule?

How can a man like Musharraf talk of the Quran and the Sunnah when he orchestrated the massacre of Lal Masjid and killed hundreds of innocents, sold the Muslims including our own nationals, including Aafia Siddiqui, became a part of the US’s so-called war on terror, facilitated the killing of hundreds of thousands of Afghan innocents, changed the Islamic syllabi to the pleasure of his foreign masters and proudly mention all this shame in his autobiography
– ‘In The Line of Fire’?

Musharraf struck with Benazir Bhutto’s world-infamous NRO deal just to stick to power for five more years. It created turmoil and chaos in the country and the nation is facing its repercussions today. This deal has given boost to corruption in our country.

Musharraf is welcome to Pakistan. His illusions would turn into disillusions as soon as he arrives back. Expecting a sea of people welcoming him upon his return, he may find himself behind the bars. No matter from where he gains the strength, the people of Pakistan want to see him punished for the crimes he committed. Our disappointment from the present rulers, do not make Musharraf a choice of future. He tenders an apology for what he called his past mistakes but we demand his trial under Article 6 of the Constitution and other offences that he committed. A day before the launching of his party, he warned that the country is at risk of a new military coup and suggested the recipe of the Army’s constitutional role in politics. He termed it the only solution if Pakistan wants stability and a system of check and balances in democratic structure.

Instead of being ashamed of what he did in the past and how he misused the institution of the Army and the military led intelligence agencies, including the MI and ISI, to strengthen his misrule at the cost of the national interest, Musharraf has set his eyes on the military under General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to get a strong shoulder for his re-entry into the Pakistani politics.

It took General Kayani one full term, three years, to redeem the lost respect of Pakistan Army but now the retired general is alluring the military to help him getting to the corridors of power from backdoor, which has been his hallmark in the past, too.

Only an insane person can shout for a constitutional role of the Army to run democracy. But by saying such freakish things, this ageing military commando wants to hit the headlines back home and to create his soft corner in the institution of Pakistan Army that he grossly misused to prolong his dictatorial rule.

Perhaps he does not realize that a lot of water has flown down the bridges. He also does not realise that he has not many takers, whether among civvies or in the khakis. But the old man has gone crazy. Nature will take its course if he returns to Pakistan, but despite the hot air that he blew in London, he is a coward and will never dare to do so.

Mr. Musharraf, Pakistan needs you!

October 9, 2010 2 comments

By Faisal Rahman

Source : http://www.aaj.tv/2010/10/mr-musharraf-pakistan-needs-you/

General (R) Pervez Musharraf, has launched his political party recently in London. Pakistan’s politics is amazing, a dictator who was all in all in his time and used to stop people from taking part in politics or coming back in the country is now forced to restart his politics from abroad.

Public opinion is divided in Pakistan over the comeback of Musharraf. It will surely not be an easy ride for him in politics. Arrival and stay in country will not be an easy task for the former dictator.

First and the biggest hurdle that will haunt him is 3rd November. It is something over which many sections of society, regardless of their social class and political affiliations, oppose him. 3rd November issue is not only related to the suspension of constitution and illegal sacking of the judiciary, but it also connects to several human rights violations to crush the lawyers movement, media and civil society.

Lal-Masjid operation, extra-judicial killings in Baluchistan, allowing US drone and missile attacks in Pakistan, NATO supplies and troops in tribal areas have put Pakistan into a real mess. The damage he did is so severe that even after two years we are facing the deadly impact. The violations of human rights in his tenure are probably worst in the history of Pakistan. Issues of missing people, particularly Dr. Aafia Siddiqi, will surely haunt him when he comes back.

The post 9/11 policies, which were mainly adapted to give legitimacy to Musharraf’s dictatorship in the eyes of world powers, have caused more than 40 billion dollars direct economic losses to Pakistan, according to government’s own sources. In Musharraf’s tenure, the real areas of economy such as agriculture , technology manufacturing and energy were not focused upon. As a result, we are undergoing food and worst energy crisis ever.

Some impression of stability was created through fictitious economy based on banking, real estate and telecom sector, which eventually resulted in the flight of capital and currency devaluation. This short sighted approach may have got him some political support, but for the country, the approach proved to be destructive in the long run. In fact, the economic bubble burst during the last days of his tenure.

Kashmir is another issue on which Musharraf needs to be questioned. According to APHC leaders, Musharraf damaged the Kashmir cause by sidelining the issue. The main leader from APHC, Syed Ali Shah Gillani, also accused Musharraf for the split of APHC. Keeping eyes close on India’s violations of Indus Water Treaty and letting India build dams was criminal negligence. His mishandling of Dr. AQ Khan’s issue and insulting the national hero will also not be forgiven by Pakistanis.

People including me often criticize the current setup, but we also need to see the cause of this mess i.e. NRO. We shouldn’t only see the ugly dry branches of the dead tree but also need to see who is responsible for the hot water going into roots.

Musharraf’s arrival is very important for Pakistan, as we need answers for many crimes he did against the nation. His arrival is important for strengthening rule of law as it will give chance to trial him for his unconstitutional actions. I am sure if people in NWFP and Baluchistan get a chance to file cases against him in the courts for his crimes against humanity, it will help in calming down the situation in many parts of our country. It will give a chance for Army to restore its image in the eyes of many, who have grievances against the national institution due to the policies by former dictators.

Musharraf’s arrival will also be a big test for our civil society, media and the Pakistani nation as a whole. It will give us a chance to set precedence of indiscriminate justice and rule of law. I hope we will take the right decisions without falling to our prejudices and greed.

British Parliamentarians for public inquiry into Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s conviction–>APP

February 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Source : http://ftp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=96105&Itemid=2

LONDON, Feb 10 (APP): Describing the conviction of Pakistani neuroscientist Dr.Aafia Siddiqui as “miscarriage of justice”, British Parliamentarians have called for withdrawal of case against her and repatriation to Pakistan. At a function organised at the House of Lords on Tuesday evening to raise support for the incarcerated Dr. Siddiqui, Lord Nazir Ahmed together with other speakers said her trial in New York was full of flaws and not based on facts.

They sought the intervention of the US leadership and demanded a fair trial based on real facts and not assumptions. Lord Ahmed said he would be writing a letter to the US President Barack Obama carrying signatures of other British MPs calling for Dr.Siddiqui’s repatriation to Pakistan and withdrawal of case.

The Labour Peer further said he would also raise this question in the Parliament to ascertain how the British Government could help in this regard.

According to Lord Nazir, the conviction of Dr.Siddiqui has been received with great dismay in Pakistan which would further fuel anti-American feeling in the south Asian country.

“If US wants to create a good impression of itself in Pakistan, it should release Dr.Siddiqui and send her back to Pakistan,” he asserted.

He said no credible independent evidence was presented at the New York court and in the words of defence lawyers the decision of the jury was based on fear rather than facts.

Lord Altaf Sheikh, MP Muhammad Sarwar, Muhammad Saghir, a representative of Caged Prisoners which represent the inmates of Guantanamo Bay, Rabia Zia of UK Chapter of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, journalist Yvonne Ridley, who witnessed the trial and Barrister Abid Hussain also spoke on the occasion.

The thrust of their speeches was to mobilise public opinion against Dr.Siddiqui’s conviction and call on Pakistani authorities to demand her repatriation as well making efforts to find the whereabouts of her two missing children.

Sarwar said Pakistani authorities must hold inquiry at their end to know the circumstances of her disappearance from Karachi in 2003 and her appearance in Kabul five years later.

Ridley said it was now up to the people of Pakistan to organise regular rallies in support of Dr.Siddiqui and send strong message of their resentment to the USA on this trial.

Barrister Abid Hussain urged the British Pakistanis to lobby their respective MPs and sign on-line petition in support of the neuroscientist for exerting maximum pressure on the US Government.

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