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Pakistan’s digital ID card locks out tens of millions



LAHORE: After three years of repeated makes an attempt to get her digital nationwide identification card, Rubina — a girl from Karachi — determined to take her battle to court docket, successful a landmark victory.

Till then, many in Pakistan had not been capable of get the Computerised Nationwide Identification Card (CNIC) until they offered their father’s ID card — an impossibility for many individuals, together with these like Rubina who had been raised by single moms.

The cardboard is important to vote, entry authorities advantages together with public colleges and healthcare, open a checking account or apply for jobs.

“I might flip up there, and be informed to deliver my father’s card,” mentioned Rubina, 21. “My mom raised me after my father deserted us quickly after my delivery — how may I furnish his identification papers then?”

Rubina’s frustration drove her to file a petition at Sindh Excessive Courtroom (SHC) which in November dominated Nationwide Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) should challenge her a card based mostly on her mom’s citizenship file.

For Rubina, the choice meant she may apply to take over her mom’s job as an attendant within the state training division when her mom retired.

Extra broadly, her case ends the efficient exclusion of youngsters of single moms from the ID card scheme, mentioned Haris Khaleeq, secretary-general of the Human Rights Fee of Pakistan (HRCP), a nonprofit group.

“And not using a CNIC, neither can any public service be accessed, nor can any banking transaction be carried out,” he informed the Thomson Reuters Basis.

“Briefly, one has no rights in any respect as a citizen.”

NADRA has mentioned it’s striving to achieve individuals who have up to now been excluded.

“The federal government has a transparent coverage that people who find themselves speculated to be registered within the database is not going to be excluded,” mentioned Salman Sufi, head of the prime minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit (SRU), which oversees the implementation of federal coverage.


Established in 2000, NADRA maintains the nation’s biometric database, and says it has issued some 120 million CNICs to 96 % of adults within the nation of about 212 million individuals.

Every card contains a 13-digit distinctive ID, {a photograph} of the individual, their signature, and a microchip that comprises their iris scans and fingerprints.

But tens of millions of individuals in Pakistan, together with girls, transgender individuals, migrant employees and nomadic communities are nonetheless with no CNIC.

Greater than 1 billion individuals globally haven’t any method of proving their identification, in line with the World Financial institution.

Whereas governments internationally are adopting digital ID techniques they are saying are enhancing governance, the U.N. particular rapporteur on human rights has mentioned they exclude marginalised teams, and shouldn’t be a prerequisite for accessing social safety schemes.

A research of migrant employees in Karachi by HRCP final 12 months confirmed that ladies had been extra probably to not have a CNIC, placing them vulnerable to destitution if their husbands died or left the household.

Youngsters whose dad and mom should not registered are particularly susceptible, as they can’t get delivery certificates, and are at higher threat of trafficking and compelled labour, HRCP mentioned.

It has beneficial extra cellular registration models and feminine employees to assist register susceptible teams, in addition to less complicated processes and fewer stringent documentation necessities, which additionally make it more durable for immigrants to use.

Solely half of some 2.8 million Afghan refugees who’ve lived in Pakistan for many years are registered with the federal government. There may be additionally a large inhabitants of unregistered Bengali, Nepali, and Rohingya immigrants in Pakistan.

“A majority of the Bengali-origin Pakistanis shouldn’t have CNICs and live like aliens and unlawful migrants in their very own nation,” Sheikh Feroz, a group chief, informed a current rally to demand CNICs.

NADRA — which has additionally helped arrange digital ID techniques in Bangladesh, Kenya and Nigeria — has mentioned it has a devoted registration division, “particularly for ladies, minorities, transgender and unregistered individuals”.

The company mentioned it had a number of women-only centres, significantly in border provinces, “to beat the socio-cultural boundaries of ladies hesitating to cope with male employees”, and prioritises senior residents and the disabled.

“Everybody can be supplied with a possibility to get registered. No group based mostly on their ethnicity, race or faith can be excluded,” mentioned Sufi, from the Strategic Reforms Unit.


For many who have a CNIC, privateness violations are a threat.

The CNIC database is accessed by about 300 private and non-private service suppliers, from the tax division to the election fee to cellular service suppliers.

There have been a number of knowledge breaches, which factors to insufficient safety, mentioned Nighat Dad, a lawyer and govt director on the Digital Rights Basis, a nonprofit.

“Girls usually complain of harassment after their private data is leaked and is weaponised to blackmail them,” she mentioned.

“Since there isn’t a knowledge safety regulation, there isn’t a accountability even when private knowledge reminiscent of cellphone numbers are leaked,” she added.

Knowledge breaches that expose private knowledge are significantly dangerous for susceptible teams reminiscent of journalists, activists and spiritual and ethnic minorities, mentioned Haroon Baloch, senior programme supervisor at Bytes for All, a digital rights group.

“Residents should not conscious of the usage of their biometric knowledge,” he mentioned. “The private knowledge hooked up with the biometric IDs might be misused, with critical privateness implications not only for the person, but additionally their household.”

NADRA officers have rejected accusations that the info has been compromised, saying the database has a multi-layer safety system “which makes hacking inconceivable”.

The federal government will roll out a knowledge privateness coverage “very quickly”, mentioned Sufi, with enough safeguards for knowledge safety, and “punishment in case of breach of privateness or knowledge theft.”

For Rubina, who couldn’t even get a Covid-19 vaccine with no CNIC, merely getting the ID is half the battle gained.

“I’m completely happy that others is not going to endure like me,” she mentioned.

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Alvi emphasises significance of oral hygiene in stopping 95pc of ailments



ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi emphasised the significance of oral hygiene in stopping ailments in his message to the nation on World Oral Well being Day. He stated that 95 % of ailments will be prevented by adopting the follow of cleansing the mouth twice a day with a toothbrush or twig.

Highlighting the importance of oral cleanliness in Islam, the president talked about that the prophet used to steadily clear his mouth and enamel. He additionally quoted a hadith saying that cleanliness is taken into account half of religion in Islam and emphasised that 21 hadiths in Sahih Bukhari stress the significance of cleansing and utilizing twigs.

Moreover, Dr. Alvi warned in regards to the risks of betel nut, which may trigger oral most cancers and urged individuals to keep away from it. He emphasised that oral ailments are troublesome and costly to deal with, however will be prevented by correct oral hygiene.


In the meantime, President Alvi urged the necessity for a visionary method to increased schooling in Pakistan, bearing in mind the huge potential of the nation’s youth.

Talking on the fifth Vice-Chancellors’ Discussion board of Universities within the Islamic world in Islamabad, he careworn the significance of adopting know-how to maintain up with the fast-changing world.

Minister for Federal Training Rana Tanveer Hussain echoed the president’s views, emphasising the function of universities in growing abilities and addressing the challenges of the fashionable world.

He additionally referred to as for the creation of a framework for mutual recognition of levels amongst OIC member states to reinforce cooperation and facilitate the motion of expert manpower.

The Discussion board, which has introduced collectively over 250 vice-chancellors, together with forty from twenty OIC nations, goals to advertise collaboration and dialogue between universities within the Islamic world.

It additionally seeks to share experiences, pool sources, and strengthen networks to form the way forward for increased schooling within the area.

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Naqvi warns of stern response to future PTI ‘assaults’ on police



— Interim authorities constitutes JIT to probe violent clashes between police and supporters of Imran Khan

LAHORE: The caretaker authorities of Mohsin Naqvi in Punjab has shaped a joint investigation staff (JIT) to analyze the alleged torture of police personnel by the hands of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters in Lahore over the previous week.

Saying the choice in a press convention on Monday, the interim chief minister additionally warned the opposition social gathering of former prime minister Imran Khan that any “future mistreatment” of legislation enforcement officers can be met with an “equal response.”

Intermittent clashes between Khan’s supporters and Punjab police and paramilitary Rangers personnel have erupted over the previous few weeks.

The clashes started when Islamabad police tried to arrest Khan at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore in reference to the Toshakhana case. PTI supporters resisted the arrest, leading to a number of accidents among the many police personnel.

One other conflict erupted on Saturday when legislation enforcement businesses raided Khan’s home in his absence. PTI employees reportedly clashed with police whereas attempting to cease them from getting into the home.

Naqvi expressed concern over the “mistreatment” of legislation enforcement officers and warned that the police will now reply to any mistreatment equally. He additionally famous that the police had been unable to implement courtroom orders as a result of their lack of ability to enter the home.

Naqvi additionally criticised Khan’s “behaviour” and threatened to withdraw the safety the federal government supplied if he continues to verbally abuse police personnel. He declared that the police couldn’t defend somebody who mistreated them and anticipated the identical drive to safeguard them.

He additional mentioned he had given full powers to the provincial police chief, Usman Anwar, to do what he deemed applicable, and that no political social gathering had reacted as aggressively as PTI throughout its protest.

Naqvi additionally assured the police that authorized motion can be taken wherever mandatory and warned that anybody resorting to violence would face a stern response. He introduced that the caretaker authorities would write a letter to the Election Fee of Pakistan (ECP) concerning the matter.

Moreover, Naqvi introduced compensation for injured police personnel, with Rs100,000 for minor accidents and Rs500,000 for main accidents.

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Dammed thirsty: the cross-border battle for water



PARIS: With half the world experiencing water shortage for no less than a part of the 12 months, the large dams being constructed by some nations to spice up their energy provides whereas their neighbours go parched are a rising supply of potential battle.

Forward of a UN convention in New York on world entry to water, AFP appears at 5 mega-projects with very totally different penalties, relying on whether or not you reside upstream or downstream.


The waters of Africa’s longest river, the Nile, are on the centre of a decade-long dispute between Ethiopia — the place the Nile’s largest tributary, the Blue Nile, rises — and its downstream neighbours Sudan and Egypt.

In 2011, Addis Ababa launched a $4.2 billion hydroelectric challenge on the river, which it sees as important to lighting up rural Ethiopia.

Sudan and Egypt, nonetheless, see the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as a menace to their water provides — Egypt alone depends on the Nile for about 97 p.c of its irrigation and ingesting water.

Ethiopia has insisted the dam won’t disturb the stream of water and turned on the primary turbine in February 2020.


Lengthy used to drilling for oil, war-scarred Iraq is now digging ever deeper for water as a frenzy of dam-building, primarily in Turkey, sucks water out of the area’s two nice rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates.

Turkey launched the development of a big complicated of dams and hydroelectric crops throughout the southeast within the Eighties.

In 1990 it accomplished the large Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates River, simply 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Syria’s border.

Extra not too long ago, in 2019, the traditional city of Hasankeyf on the Tigris was submerged to make method for the huge Ilisu Dam.

Iraq and Syria say Turkey’s dam-building has resulted in a drastic discount of the water flowing via their lands.

Baghdad recurrently asks Ankara to launch extra water to counter drought, however Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq, Ali Riza Guney, ruffled feathers final July when he stated, “water is essentially wasted in Iraq”.

Syria’s Kurds in the meantime have accused their arch-foe Turkey of weaponising the Euphrates, accusing it of intentionally holding again water to spark a drought, which Ankara denies.


China is a frenetic dam builder, setting up 50,000 dams within the Yangtze basin up to now 70 years — together with the notorious Three Gorges.

However it’s China’s tasks on the Mekong River, which rises in China and twists south via Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam, that the majority alarm its neighbours.

The Mekong feeds greater than 60 million individuals via its basin and tributaries.

Washington has blamed China’s actions for inflicting extreme droughts in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

In 2019, the US monitor Eyes on Earth revealed satellite tv for pc imagery displaying the dams in China holding “above-average pure stream”.

Beijing insists its reservoirs assist to keep up the steadiness of the river, by storing water within the wet season and releasing it within the dry season.


The Indus River is likely one of the longest on the Asian continent, reducing via ultra-sensitive borders within the area, together with the demarcation between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

The 1960 Indus Water Treaty theoretically shares out water between the 2 nations however has been fraught with disputes.

Pakistan has lengthy feared that India, which sits upstream, may limit its entry, adversely affecting its agriculture. And India has threatened to take action from time to time.

In an indication of the tensions, the arch-rivals have constructed duelling energy crops alongside the banks of the Kishanganga River, which flows into an Indus tributary.


The Itaipu hydroelectric plant, located on the Parana River on the Brazil-Paraguay border, has typically been the supply of tensions between the 2 co-owner nations.

One of many two hydroelectricity crops that produce essentially the most energy on the planet, alongside China’s Three Gorges, had its vitality shared out underneath a 1973 treaty.

However Paraguay demanded extra and ultimately acquired thrice more cash from Brazil, which makes use of 85 p.c of the electrical energy produced.

In 2019, a brand new deal on the sale of energy from Itaipu almost introduced down Paraguay’s authorities, with consultants arguing it could scale back Paraguay’s entry to low-cost energy.

The 2 nations promptly cancelled the deal.

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