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'Olympics passport scam report to defame Pakistan'

July 25, 2012 21:13 IST

The federal cabinet of Pakistan has decided to take legal action against The Sun for a fabricated report on the Pakistan passport issuing authority, while the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) officials say it is a ploy to defame the authority that recently beat some British international firms in the bidding process at the international level.

The report alleged that that a group of travel agents and a politician were involved in a scam, which allowed anyone to travel with the Pakistani Olympic contingent as support staff if they pay a certain amount of money.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf presided over meeting of the Federal Cabinet taking cognizance of the media reports regarding the alleged passport scam of NADRA.

The chairman Pakistan's National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) informed the cabinet that a British tabloid, The Sun. splashed the story which, he said, is totally incorrect, false and malicious.

He informed the cabinet that NADRA has won 166 million dollars project in Kenya recently beating some British international firms in the bidding process and the story seems to have been crafted to defame Pakistan.

The Cabinet directed NADRA to immediately file a libel suit against The Sun in consultation with Ministry of Law & Justice. has received a copy of investigation conducted by NADRA that unearthed the facts in the scam orchestrated by The Sun in its story titled 'Olympic terror visa racket'. 

The investigation revealed that there was no fraud or illegal activity done while obtaining the lD cards and passport of The Sun man Mohammad Ali Asad, s/o Mohammad Anwer Siddique.

Documentary and video evidence proves that Mohammad Ali Asad was himself present for the renewal of his expired CNIC.

According to Nadra's database, Asad had first obtained his NIC in 2002. He later immigrated to the UK and has been living there for the past 8-10 years. Asad was issued a UK passport in 2011, with the same name and picture as per his Nadra records. However, the passport bears a fake place and date of birth.

Asad, as an undercover agent for The Sun, travelled to Pakistan on July 8, 2012. He visited the Nadra office in Baghbanpura, Lahore to get his CNIC photo updated on July 10. Asad's CNIC was updated after comparing the data with his previous record held in Nadra database.

Once his CNIC was modified, Asad started the process for acquiring a machine-readable passport on July 13, which was delivered to him on July 18.

Since the same person applied to renew his own ID card and for provision of a passport, nothing illegal was done, Nadra stated.

Tahir Ali