Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May 2016, 08:28 GMT

Pakistan: Fraudulent documents (2008-2010)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 24 November 2010
Citation / Document Symbol PAK103606.FE
Related Document Pakistan : information sur les documents frauduleux (2008-2010)
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Pakistan: Fraudulent documents (2008-2010), 24 November 2010, PAK103606.FE, available at: [accessed 25 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In an article published on 10 August 2010, the Daily Times of Lahore reported that "fake passports are widely available" in Pakistan. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Pakistan arrests an average of six people a day in the Islamabad area for document fraud (The Sydney Morning Herald 13 July 2010). An assistant director of the FIA stated that tens of thousands of people have some sort of involvement in this industry (ibid.). According to a an article published on 12 November 2009 in another Lahore newspaper, The Nation, the current British Home Office Minister responsible for Immigration stated that numerous applications for British visas presented by Pakistanis are accompanied by false documents. The Consul General of the United States in Pakistan stated that in July 2010, nearly 98% of applications for American visas made by Pakistanis were refused because they were accompanied by false documents (Dawn 21 July 2010).

In its report, State of Human Rights in 2008, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) noted that in May 2008, 5.8 million of Pakistan's 7.5 million passport holders had a machine-readable passport (HRCP Mar. 2009, 4). A press attaché with the High Commission of Pakistan in Malaysia stated that "it's next to impossible to forge" the machine-readable passports (The Star 22 Aug. 2010). A report published by the FIA indicates that 141 passengers were deported in 2005 for having false documents and that 25 passengers were deported in the first half of 2008 (Pakistan n.d.a). A senior official with Pakistan's National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), the agency that issues the Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC) (Pakistan n.d.b), told the newspaper Dawn that "Nadra's system was so secure that it foiled over 250 attempts of getting fake CNIC in a day" (4 Mar. 2010). However, according to an article in the Daily Times, representatives of NADRA and of passport offices in Lahore confirmed that with help from NADRA officers and using fake fingerprints, it is possible to "get more than one original CNIC and passport with different identities" (Daily Times 12 Apr. 2010). According to some sources, the FIA is investigating this (ibid.). It also investigated in 2008 when NADRA officers were suspected of issuing fake CNICs (The Nation 13 Nov. 2008). Moreover, in an effort to put a stop to counterfeiting, the Lahore Development Authority has started printing 13 types of property ownership documents, including transfer letters, on security paper (Pakistan n.d.c; The News International 7 Oct. 2010).

The following is a partial list of cases reported in the media concerning fraudulent documents in Pakistan:

  • The Supreme Court asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to review the degrees of legislators (AP 30 June 2010). Almost all of the nearly 1,100 elected officials have to submit their diplomas for verification (ibid.; Time 21 July 2010; The News International 14 Oct. 2010). According to an article in the newspaper The News International on 14 October 2010, at the time the article was published, the degrees of 67 Members of Parliament had been declared fake; however, the hearings into the fake degrees was still ongoing as of 1 November 2010 (Pakistan 1 Nov. 2010).
  • In September 2010, six Pakistanis went to Denmark to seek asylum (Dawn 21 Sept. 2010). They were allegedly in possession of fake visas and were aided by FIA agents at Benazir Bhutto International Airport (ibid.).
  • In September 2010, the FIA arrested four people-three women who had fake Afghan passports that had been provided to them by the smuggler accompanying them-as their airplane was about to take off for Oslo (Dawn 19 Sept. 2010). An FIA agent and an immigration inspector allegedly helped the passengers clear the checks prior to boarding (ibid.).
  • On 20 June 2010, Zimbabwean police arrested two Pakistanis with fake Kenyan passports (AFP 26 June 2010; VOA 26 June 2010).
  • In March 2010, the FIA arrested a forgery expert and found at his residence various forged documents, including passports, visa stickers and security papers (Daily Times 3 Mar. 2010; The Nation 3 Mar. 2010).
  • In early 2009, Pakistan's National Accountability Bureau (NAB) announced that the former consul general of Pakistan in the United States would soon be arrested for issuing 300 fake passports to Pakistanis (Daily Times 17 Feb. 2009; APP 17 Feb. 2009). He subsequently admitted in court that his office had indeed issued 300 fake passports (DPA 29 Jan. 2010).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France-Presse (AFP). 26 June 2010. "Attentats Bombay : un Pakistanais arrêté." (Le Figaro) [Accessed 4 Oct. 2010]

Associated Press (AP). 30 June 2010. "Fake Degree Scandal Roils Pakistani Politics." (Dawn) [Accessed 1 Nov. 2010]

Associated Press of Pakistan (APP). 17 February 2009. "NAB to Question Former Consul General to US." (The Nation) [Accessed 1 Nov. 2010]

Daily Times [Lahore]. 10 August 2010. Ali K. Chishti. "Fake EU Passport Trade a Boon for Terrorists." [Accessed 30 sept. 2010]

______. 12 April 2010. Shahnawaz Khan. "Fingerprint Identification Susceptible to Forgery." [Accessed 27 Oct. 2010]

______. 3 March 2010. "FIA Seizes Counterfeit Documents and Currency." [Accessed 3 Nov. 2010]

______. 17 February 2009. Masood Rehman. "Ex-Pak Envoy to US to Be Arrested Soon: IHC Told." [Accessed 1 Nov. 2010]

Dawn [Karachi]. 21 September 2010. Munawer Azeem. "Six Pakistanis Seek Asylum in Denmark." [Accessed 3 Nov. 2010]

______. 19 September 2010. Munawer Azeem. "Four Arrested for Forged Passports." [Accessed 1 Nov. 2010]

______. 21 July 2010. "98pc of Applicants Refused US Visa over Forgery." [Accessed 2 Nov. 2010]

______. 4 March 2010. Syed Irfan Raza. "CNIC on Rigi Lands Nadra into Trouble." [Accessed 1 Nov. 2010]

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 29 January 2010. "Pakistani Passport Forgers Fool the World." (Gulf Times) <<> [Accessed 30 sept. 2010]

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). March 2009. State of Human Rights in 2008. [Accessed 2 Nov. 2010]

The Nation [Lahore]. 3 March 2010. "FIA Nabs Forgery Expert." [Accessed 27 Oct. 2010]

______. 12 November 2009. "4000 Visa Appeals Cleared by British High Commission in Islamabad." [Accessed 2 Nov. 2010]

______. 13 November 2008. "Nadra Chairman Sees Database Foolproof." [Accessed 1 Nov. 2010]

The News International [Karachi]. 14 October 2010. Muhammad Saleh Zaafir. "67 MPs Have Fake Degrees." [Accessed 3 Nov. 2010]

______. 7 October 2010. "LDA Takes Steps to Check Fraud in Property Dealing." <<> [Accessed 2 Nov. 2010]

Pakistan. 1 November 2010. Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). "MNA's/MPA's Pleaded Their Cases About Fake/Invalid Degrees." [Accessed 2 Nov. 2010]

______. N.d.a. Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). "Overall Performance of FIA." [Accessed 5 Oct. 2010]

______. N.d.b. National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). "Profile." <<> [Accessed 2 Nov. 2010]

______. N.d.c. Lahore Development Authority (LDA). "Security Featured Document." [Accessed 1 Nov. 2010]

The Star [Malaysia]. 22 August 2010. "Pakistan High Commission: Our Workers Are Legal Ones." <<> [Accessed 30 Sept. 2010]

The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 July 2010. Matt Wade. "Pakistan's Bustling Transit Lounge for Asylum Seekers." (Factiva)

Time. 21 July 2010. Omar Waraich. "Pakistan's Fake-Degree Scandal." [Accessed 1 Nov. 2010]

Voice of America (VOA). 26 June 2010. "Deux Pakistanais arrêtés au Zimbabwé." (Monde Actu) [Accessed 4 Oct. 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to reach representatives of the High Commission of Canada in Islamabad and Transparency International (TI) in Pakistan were unsuccessful.

Internet sites, including: Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI), European Country of Origin Information Network (, Forced Migration Reviev (FMR), Gallup, Global Integrity, Interpol, Jane's Intelligence Review, Pakistan - Ministry of Interior, Pakistan - National Accountability Bureau (NAB), PakTribune, Transparency International (TI) - Pakistan, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, United Nations - Refworld.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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