Pakistan's rigid system of prohibiting Muslims from changing their religion status on their national ID cards nearly cost a Punjab politician his post –- even though he has always been a Christian.
Rana Asif Mahmood's political opponents sought to disqualify him from the Punjab Provincial Assembly seat reserved for minorities in April, on the grounds that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) identifies him as a Muslim.
Mahmood said that NADRA had mistakenly identified him as a Muslim because of his name and then refused to rectify the error. The mistake not only cost Mahmood a cabinet position, but also his part in proposing the provincial budget for 2012-13, he said.
The law establishing NADRA prohibits Muslims from changing the religion column on their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC), though non-Muslims can easily obtain such changes –- especially if they are converting to Islam.
"The situation was revealed to me when my son applied for ...1