Bilawal inaugurates global rollout of digital PoA service for expatriates

By Staff Reporter | Pakistan Observer Feb 15, 2023

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday rolled out Digital Power of Attorney (POA) Service as a platform providing global overseas Pakistanis an efficient digital solution to process POA without physical appearance at respective embassies/consulates.

The ceremony was held at the Foreign office, Islamabad. Foreign Secretary, Chairman NADRA Tariq Malik, Spokesperson FO and senior officials from both the departments were present on the occasion.

NADRA has designed, developed and implemented a web-based solution to digitally issue PAO. More than 9 million overseas Pakistanis can avail this facility from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the need and cost of travel to a Pakistani mission. This will particularly benefit those overseas Pakistanis who live at a distance from an embassy or consulate.

The innovative solution for digital PoA, created by NADRA, utilizes state-of-the art Pak-ID Online Biometric Verification Services. During the application, the applicant(s) (also known as Executor(s)) along with two witnesses will scan and upload their paper-based biometrics, which are verified through the National Database in real-time. NADRA has then enabled a Video Interview Module in the application that will allow the Consular Officer at the concerned Pakistan Mission to conduct online interview of the executor(s), witnesses, and notarize their consent to execute the PoA.

The solution includes features to upload scanned documents, pictures and also allows the Consular Officer to conduct real time verification from NADRA. The features incorporated above meet the global benchmarks of e-KYC compliance.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in collaboration with National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA) first launched the pilot phase of POA at US-UK based 10 Pakistani Missions in November 2021 that received a substantial response from Overseas Pakistanis across the world.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that it gives him immense pleasure to launch the Digital Power of Attorney service that would benefit Pakistanis overseas.

He said that this would be of great aid to our missions abroad that are underfunded and burdened.

In both of his terms, Chairman NADRA Tariq Malik has made significant contributions to the digitisation process.

In his first tenure, the initiative of electronic CNICs was taken which greatly facilitated disbursement of funds to the underprivileged and deserving women of Pakistan through the Benazir Income Support Programme.

Foreign Minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that it is hoped that this facility currently being provided to overseas Pakistanis will be extended to those in our country, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also benefit our embassies and improve consular services. Technology is the future and we can improve our governance as well as enhance transparency through utilising it. We would like to collaborate further in order to bring other services online. It is a matter of great pride that countries like Nigeria are following Pakistan’s model and expertise for their institutions.

Chairman NADRA Tariq Malik said that identification is one of the key manifestations of the explosive spread of digital technology. NADRA is now helping the government institutions capitalize on this digital transformation by taking performative action based on our analysis of human connections. Pakistanis globally will now be able to exercise their right to give representative authority digitally and with unprecedented certainty about their identity in both physical and the virtual realms, Mr. Malik added.

Tariq Malik stated that over the last year, NADRA software engineers worked on the application and scope of the system based on ramifications and the feedback received from users, applicants and Foreign Missions during the pilot phase. This new and improved version of the POA has widened its scope to cater to the Pakistani diaspora living across the world efficiently and effectively, he added.

Chairman NADRA and his team have worked tirelessly to expand the global outreach of this solution. 116 Pakistani Diplomatic missions have been trained as per the service requirements for efficient delivery to the Pakistani Diaspora. The authority continues to provide 24/7 facilitation to the users through its call centre and Pak-ID Live Chat services.

It is pertinent to mention that more than 8 thousand applicants have processed PoA applications from just two countries in the past 16 months and the highest numbers of applications received are from Pakistani missions in London, New York and Houston respectively. In the meantime, approximately 1.5 million Overseas Pakistanis have accessed the PoA website.

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