I lost my National ID card a week ago and I have been worrying about it because there are many occasions when it is needed for one reason or another. Today I decided that I would stop looking for the misplaced card and apply for a new one.
So this morning off I went to my friendly neighbourhood NADRA office. The first thing I noticed was that Friday is Ladies Day at NADRA so only ladies can apply for ID cards on this day of the week. I wondered if that meant that ladies were discouraged from applying for new ID cards on any other day of the week. Nonetheless I was there for a purpose so I went and queued up.
The girl at the counter asked me if i wanted the card issued urgently or did it not matter when I got it. I asked how long it would take in the normal course. She responded, “Maybe a month or maybe two.” So of course I said I needed it urgently which still meant waiting 10 – 12 days. She then asked if I would like to be on the Fast Track. I said sure and was immediately whisked away to a room where the process began immediately. Of course this meant I had to fork out Rs. 1,000. Not knowing how much it cost otherwise, I thought to myself: I have to get to the office. It is probably worth my time to just get this done quickly.
It was only much later that I found out how much time I had really saved.
Apparently, the normal process if you lose your card is:
1. File an FIR (First Investigation Report)
2. Wait 8-10 days in case it turns up
3. Pay Rs. 150
4. Get your form attested by the District Nazim ( if you can find him)
5. Then come back to complete the process
6. If you are married you need to have an attested copy of your Nikahnama (marriage certificate)
Now listen to what the process is if you are on the Fast Track:
1. Pay Rs. 1000 and get a token
2. No FIR
3. No waiting period
4. No attestation by District Nazim
5. Just proceed with the process
See what a difference there is in the process so you actually save a lot of time.
As if this was not irritating enough, the process itself has changed since I first had my ID card made. This time they made me take off my spectacles, and instead of needing one thumb print, they had to scan both thumbs and all 8 fingers. I told the guy “So you are assuming that we are all criminals and are taking no chances?” He smiled and said “Ma’am I am just doing my job” (couldn’t fault him for that).
Then I went to the next computer where I was asked for a copy of the ID card I had lost. The lady also asked if I was married or single. I said I was single. She asked if my parents were alive. I told her Ammi was deceased by that my father was in the land of the living. She asked for Ammi’s name and asked for a copy of my father’s ID. Now why should she need that? Fortunately, I had a copy because I needed it to apply for a Police Clearance Certificate for a visa (but that’s another story).
Anyway, after this the document was printed. I had to go to another lady to sign it and was then told to come back in 10 – 12 days. And that was that!
What occured to me as I got into the car was that it was a warped process at best and the fact that the rules were different if you had money, was really pathetic. Why should you need the Nazim to attest the information you have provided? But if for some Godforsaken needed, there was some rationale to it, then paying Rs. 850 more should not mean that you didn’t have to. If an FIR was required, then the fast track could mean that a policeman was available on site for you to lodge it there. It should not mean that you didn’t have to lodge an FIR. Different procedures for different people I guess. No wonder people feel that some are more equal in this country than others.
Another thing to note is that each time there is a change in your status – i.e. should you marry or get a divorce, should one of your parents be deceased, should you start your own business instead of being an employee, and in several other cases, you will need to go to a NADRA office to have the alternation made to your ID. Big brother must know what you are up to at all times. Talk about privacy! Sheesh!