Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has launched a new mobile app that will allow people to register in the country’s National ID program through their smartphones. The Pak-ID app is available for Android and iOS devices, and is capable of biometric face and fingerprint capture and document scanning.
According to NADRA, the app is supposed to make it easier for people to apply for a National ID card, since it allows people to submit their information remotely. In doing so, it also negates the need for dedicated capture devices, and instead allows people to take advantage of the cameras and biometric sensors that come with their phones. As a result, Pakistani citizens can complete their application anywhere, even if they are not in the country, and do not need to make the trip to a government enrollment office.
The app itself is the brainchild of NADRA chairman Tariq Malik, and has the backing of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. The officials are hoping that the app will raise financial inclusion and boost the country’s digital economy. In that regard, the national IDs can be used for mobile onboarding, and facilitate the provision of various public and private services.
“It is a game-changer as it helps create trust in a variety of transactions between people, identity providers, and public and private sector,” said Malik.
Pak-ID uses the smartphone camera to take photos of any documents that are required for a National ID application. Meanwhile, the app’s biometric features speak to Pakistan’s growing interest in biometric technology. The country has previously used biometric identification to distribute welfare payments, and to send cash to women living in poverty. However, some biometric attendance programs were suspended in response to COVID-19, which could help explain the country’s interest in a remote registration and authentication option.
Pakistan is currently in the midst of a rapid digital transformation. The GSMA has reported that 80 percent of the country’s population now has access to a mobile connection.