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Biometric verification for currency buyers in Pakistan begins despite calls for delays

Biometric verification for currency buyers in Pakistan begins despite calls for delays

The National Database and Registration Authority of Pakistan (NADRA) has activated the system to enable the biometric verification of all those buying foreign currencies of more than $500 from currency exchange companies in the country, reports ProPakistani.

According to the report, the system went live on Friday night despite calls for an extension of the deadline for the exercise which is a directive of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), as earlier reported by Dawn.

The SBP had issued an order on October 7 that currency exchange companies must begin biometric verification from October 22 for all those buying foreign currency of over $500 from the open market.

The restriction on currency purchase was imposed after it was discovered that a high currency flow to Afghanistan was destabilizing the local exchange market, Dawn wrote in its report.

Ahead of the October 22 deadline, currency exchange companies in the country had said they would be unable to begin implementing the decision because they were still in the process of acquiring the required software for the biometric verification.

Malik Bostan, chairman of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP) had been quoted as saying the organization had written to authorities of the SBP asking for an extension of the deadline to permit them get the necessary software in place.

“We have written a request letter to the State Bank for extending the deadline since the technical solution for biometric is necessary before the application of this restriction,” Bostan told Dawn.

This notwithstanding, NADRA went ahead to activate the system for biometric verification after the request for a deadline extension was rejected by the SBP, wrote ProPakistani.

Digital ID issuance restarts in Kabul

Across the border, Afghanistan’s State television reported recently that the issuance of national digital ID cards had resumed in the capital, Kabul, according to Xinhua.

The resumption of the process comes after a two and half month pause. Offices handling the process had been closed when the Taliban took control of the country in August, the report adds.

Authorities plan to hand out 80,000 cards during this first phase.

The ID card issuances comes after the passport service resumed its operations last week, according to the report.

There had been reports about risks to the safety of persons whose biometric data were stored in databases in Afghanistan after the Taliban regime came to power.

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