ISLAMABAD - Since Pakistan launched its new online visa system in the mid of March this year, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has received 2,249 visa applications of foreigners from across the world.

The federal government had launched the online visa system for 175 countries across the globe in a bid to promote country’s tourism industry and “open its borders for the entire world”.

For this purpose, NADRA has developed the Pakistan Online Visa System that issues visas to potential travellers to Pakistan. All visa category types are offered through this system.

According to the Nadra, tourists are not required to visit a Pakistan embassy or consulate to obtain their visas but with the introduction of this system, “they will be able to apply within the comfort of their home.”

According to the performance report released by the NADRA here on Tuesday, in the week of May 6 to May 12, 2019, NADRA processed and registered approximately 277,000 registrants into its database, out of which almost 37 000 received their identity document free of cost. Most identity category types such as computerized or smart national identity cards (CNIC/SNIC), family and child registration and Pakistan origin card (POC), saw a significant increase in the number of applications processed in comparison to the same period of the previous year. For example, a push for the newer and secure Smart ID Card led to an increase of over half a million applicants in 2018. Similarly, Mobile Registration Vans (MRVs) deployed in both urban and rural areas registered over one million citizens, with a significant increase in registration of females and differently abled persons.

NADRA says that it has established a web-based online application system known as Pak-Identity that has enabled 317,307 applicants to process their ID cards from their homes and offices. Moreover, in the week of May 6 to May 12, NADRA cleared more than 500 cases that were either blocked or under verification, providing relief to those affected after due processing.

On the international stage, NADRA has developed an Election Management System for the government of Fiji. Additionally, NADRA is carrying out important projects in African continent. The civil registration system in Sudan and most recently a National Identification System for the Government of Somalia have also been developed by NADRA.

On a national scale, NADRA has been spearheading the project for the computerization of arms licenses for federal, Punjab and Sindh governments.

Additionally, the authority has also rolled out Vehicle Registration Smart Cards for the Excise and Taxation Department of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), for which 2,595 applications have been received. During the by-polls for the Pakistan General Elections of 2018, an Internet Voting System was developed by NADRA to allow for many expatriate Pakistanis living abroad to cast their vote online. Approximately 7.500 eligible voters were registered and were able to successfully cast their vote online for their respective constituencies. 

The government claims to provide affordable housing to 5 million people through the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme. NADRA has completed the pilot phase and digitized around 500,000 housing forms of prospective applicants. The housing scheme will soon be extended to the entire country during the next phase.