Fact-check: Video does not show Nadra secretly registering undocumented immigrants
Both Nadra and politician Qadir Khan Mandokhail confirm that a Nadra van was issuing ID cards to only Pakistani citizens
Updated Tuesday Nov 14 2023
A video has been falsely shared online showing officials of the government-run National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) issuing Pakistani national identity cards to illegal immigrants to tamper with the electoral rolls in the run-up to the general election.
The one-minute video shows a van belonging to Nadra parked in a warehouse. Inside the vehicle, a group of people can be purportedly seen secretly getting their identity cards processed.
“Who knows what these people are up to?” a man recording the video can be heard saying. The man proceeds to open the door of the van and asks the officials why they are there.
One Nadra official, who emerges from the vehicle, then replies that he has been told by a local parliamentarian to visit the area.
The video has been shared by multiple accounts online.
A user shared the video on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on November 2, alongside the caption that Pakistan has launched an operation against illegal immigrants and the deadline for them to leave the country was October 31.
“Yet, on the same night [October 31] in a warehouse in Karachi a Nadra van is registering illegal immigrants and giving them Pakistani ID cards,” the user wrote, “This country is being used by the corrupt and by our enemies.”
The user further alleged that the writ of the state did not exist anymore. “Voter lists are being made on the basis of fake documents,” the X user added.
The post had been viewed 18,000 times on X, reposted 365 times and liked 381 times, at the time of writing.
“In the darkness of the night, Nadra's official van is parked in a warehouse where Afghan refugees’ CNICs are being made,” another account wrote on X, sharing the same video, “On one side, the government is determined to remove them, and on the other, they’re being ridiculed in a way that mocks the country.”
The post has garnered over 2,000 views, to date.
Both the Nadra and a parliamentarian in Karachi, in whose constituency the video was recorded, confirm the vehicle was sent on July 20, not on October 31, in Karachi’s Baldia Town to help citizens get their ID cards issued, since there is no Nadra office in the area.
As per a press release issued by Nadra, and shared with Geo Fact Check by Rida Qazi, the public information officer at Nadra, mobile registration vans (MRV) are routinely deployed by the authority “to provide vital services to citizens in remote areas” often when local communities or political figures request the service.
“The video in question is approximately four months old,” the statement added, “[It] captured an MRV parked in a building near Khyber Chowk in the Baldia Town area of Karachi, dated July 20, 2023.”
The van, the press release explained, had to take shelter in a nearby building due to bad weather.
“While the MRV was operational, local police officers on patrol approached the Nadra personnel to inquire about the purpose of their activity,” the statement noted, “Following a satisfactory response from the Nadra staff, the police personnel left without further engagement.”
Geo Fact Check then reached out to Qadir Khan Mandokhail, a former member of the national assembly from Karachi who was elected from NA-249 in 2021.
Mandokhail also confirmed that he had indeed requested a Nadra vehicle to be deployed in this constituency, earlier this year.
“Yes, on my request [an MRV was sent] as we do not have any Nadra [facilitation] centre in the area,” Mandokhail told Geo Fact Check over the phone.
Mandokhail further added that when the video began doing the rounds on social media he called up the warehouse’s owner to get details of the incident.
The politician was told by the warehouse owner that due to heavy rain on July 20, the Nadra van was moved indoors to continue the registration process. Mandokhail also explained that the MRV moved around in his constituency not just for one day, but for more than eight months.
The former MNA also shared a video message on his X account of the Nadra official who could be seen exiting the van in the viral video.
The official further confirmed that the online video was old and filmed in Karachi’s Ittehad Town to help citizens get their identity cards made, after an appeal by Mandokhail. He added that the van had to be parked inside due to a downpour that day and also to ensure women who wanted to get their ID cards issued felt comfortable.
With additional reporting by Fayyaz Hussain.
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