A number of Overseas Pakistanis, residing in different countries, had lodged complaints with the Federal Ombudsman regarding blocking of their bank accounts owing to the introduction of bio-metric verification as a pre-requisite to operate a bank account in Pakistan. They claimed that since NADRA Verification system/ NICOP already had their bio-metric record; therefore, blocking of bank accounts was unjustified and requested the Federal Ombudsman to intervene and resolve the matter.
Consequently, the Grievance Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis of Federal Ombudsman Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar asked the Governor, State Bank of Pakistan to submit a report in this regard. The State Bank, in its reply, informed the WMS that an SRO, instructing all the banks to use the data/Verisys of NADRA for bio-metric verification of non-resident Pakistanis (NRP) bank accounts, had been issued. Moreover, for the account holders temporarily residing outside Pakistan, the banks were directed, by the SBP, to conduct fresh NADRA Verisys and retain the same in place of bio-metric verification until their returns (within 6 months). The State Bank further informed that in case of joint accounts, where one account holder is out of country, the bio-metric of the other account holder could be done.
Wafaqi Mohtasib Secretariat directed State Bank of Pakistan to issue these instructions to all the banks and make it a future policy to use NADRA Verisys system as a substitute to the biometric verification for non-resident Pakistanis or the Pakistanis who are temporarily residing outside Pakistan. State Bank of Pakistan assured that it will take action in case of any violation of the decision or unnecessary inconvenience caused to the customers/Overseas Pakistanis in this regard. This timely intervention by the WMS not only resolved the problems of millions of Pakistanis living abroad but also helped to lay down a future policy for any Pakistani travelling or residing out of Pakistan to be able to continue using his or her bank account.