Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has
asked Pakistan`s national database to use his name as the
father`s name in official documentation for children of
unknown parentage, a top official has said.
The move is an attempt to legalise the status of a large
number of children who were born legally but whose parentage
is unknown, National Database and Registration Authority
Chairman Malik Tarek said.
NADRA plans to issue identity cards to thousands of
children of unknown parentage, a majority of whom were dropped
by their parents at welfare centres, Tarek told The Nation
A large number of such children arrived at welfare
centres after losing their parents in the 2005 earthquake and
last year`s devastating floods, he said.
NADRA was at a loss about filling the registration forms
for such children as it is mandatory to mention the name of
the father and mother, he added.
"When it came to the knowledge of President Zardari, he
voluntarily offered his name to be used in the father`s name
box for such people," Tarek said.
"I want you to make a strategy to make thousands of
children with unknown parentage responsible citizens of the
"NADRA can mention my name as father of all such
children to issue them identity cards," Tarek quoted Zardari
In order to deal with the sensitive and complex issue
of children of unknown parentage, NADRA approached different
schools of Islamic thought in countries like Saudi Arabia and
Iran and some suggested that "Adam and Hawa" should be named
as the father and mother of such children.
"We took fatwa from leading Islamic institutions and
scholars of Saudi Arabia and Iran to deal with the issue,"
NADRA also consulted social workers like Abdus Sattar
Edhi, chief of the Edhi Foundation.
Welfare centres where the children are living will be
named as their guardian, Tarek said.
Pakistan has no law on the rights of illegitimate
children, including their financial entitlement or
inheritance, legal experts said.
They suggested the government should organise a
conference to discuss how to register illegitimate children as
they too have a right to good education and jobs.