Pakistan’s Digital ID Card Keeps Millions Locked Out
After three years of repeated attempts to get her digital national identity card, Rubina – a woman from the Pakistani city of Karachi – decided to take her battle to court, winning a landmark victory.
Until then, Pakistanis had not been able to get the Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC) unless they presented their father’s ID card – an impossibility for many people, including those like Rubina who were raised by single mothers.
The card is vital to vote, access government benefits including public schools and healthcare, open a bank account or apply for jobs.
“I would turn up there, and be told to bring my father’s card,” said Rubina, 21.
“My mother raised me after my father abandoned us soon after my birth – how could I furnish his identity papers then?”
Photo courtesy of Priscilla Du Preez.