Author Archives: Zehra Hashmi

Zehra Hashmi is a PhD Candidate in the Interdepartmental Program in Anthropology and History at the University of Michigan.
The image is a photograph of a 2019 notification sent by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Islamabad, to all satellite TV channel licensees (news and current affairs) and is dated October 26, 2019. On the top left hand corner of the notification is the PEMRA logo consisting of a shield surrounded by a wreath, lying below a star nestled within a crescent moon. On the top right hand corner is the PEMRA headquarters address, noted as Operations Wing, 3rd Floor, Mauve Area, G-8/1 Islamabad, Tel: 051-9107128. The notification number is 13(87)/OPS/2016. The text of the notification is as follows. Subject: Appearance of Senator Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor on TV Channels The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) vide its letter dated October 11, 2019 has conveyed that Senator Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor is “confirmed Alien” (quoted text appears in bold) as he is not a citizen of Pakistan. Therefore, NADRA vide its orders U/S 18 (1) and 17 (2) has cancelled (word appears in bold) and digitally impounded the CNIC issued to Mr. Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor. Since, it is established that the said person is an ‘alien,’ therefore all the TV channels (News and Current Affairs) are directed to refrain from inviting and projecting Mr. Hafiz Hamdullah Saboor in their programmes / talk shows, news etc. This issues with approval of the competent authority. After the text in the body of the notification, on the bottom right hand corner is a signature in blue ink by Muhammad Tahir, General Manager, Operations Broadcast Media. Below it, on the bottom left hand corner, is a note with the following text: Copy for information (text appears in bold): Director General (Monitoring), PEMRA, Head (Legal) PEMRA, and General Manager to Chairman, PEMRA.

Thinking with a Database

In 2019, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority notified television channels that they were not allowed to host the Pakistani Senator Hafiz Hamdullah on air. The reason: Hamdullah had been declared a “confirmed alien,” and his identity card had been “digitally impounded” by Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). NADRA began operations in 2000 by launching a biometric (fingerprints, facial, and iris recognition) computerized national identity card (CNIC). At NADRA, custom-made software integrates and verifies data from individuals as well as kin units, determining who is and is not a Pakistani citizen. (read more...)