It seems that the premier identification regulatory does not think that a degree in Pashto is a real thing and refuses to acknowledge those who have studied the language.
The online registration forms of the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) recognise masters degree or doctorate in English, Urdu, Persian along with those in social sciences. But the form does not have a slot for Pashto literature.
Courses in English, Urdu and Persian are offered at almost all the social science departments of major universities in the country. With Pashto being a regional language, courses in it are offered at four major universities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) including the University of Peshawar, University of Malakand, Bacha Khan University in Charsadda and the Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan. Moreover, courses in the subject are offered at several government and private colleges across the province as well where thousands of students study for graduate degrees in the subject.
But this has failed to convince NADRA.
The move came to light when an assistant professor of Pashto language and literature visited a field office of the national identity keeper in Batkhela, Malakand district, for renewing his Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC).
Samandar Yousafzai, who teaches Pashto at the University of Malakand, told The Express Tribune that he was shocked to discover that there was no slot for those graduating in Pashto subject in the NADRA form.
Narrating his experience, Yousafzai added that during his trip to the NARDA office the data entry official asked for his qualification.
“When I replied PhD in Pashto he stated that the subject is not in the form while subject such as Urdu, English, Persian had been listed,” Yousafzai.
He said that there were thousands of students who had studied Pashto literature across the province, arguing that Pashto language and literature was a major subject at varsities of the K-P. However, due to the unavailability of the slot in NADRA’s form, they were compelled to mention their qualification as a simple bachelors degree.
Youafazi said that this was a sensitive issue and even inferred that it was akin to racial profiling educated Pashtuns in the national records.
When contacted, NADRA Spokesperson Faiq Ali said that they do not attribute any value to any degree while entering information into NADRA’s record and that educational qualification is asked for backend data keeping.