Removal, reinstatement of Nadra chief: government suffers big embarrassment

Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tues-day reinstated Tariq Malik as Chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) hours after he was sacked by the government. Tariq resumed the charge as chairman Nadra hours after court’s decision, sources confirmed.

The IHC Judge, Justice Noor ul Haq, while hearing the plea filed by Malik challenging his removal by the government, suspended the notification of Tariq Malik’s removal. The court also suspended the notification of Brigadier Zahid’s (Retd) appointment as acting chairman. Babar Sattar, the counsel for Malik, told Business Recorder that in the application submitted before the court they had taken the stance that Malik had been removed without any reason. “According to Nadra ordinance chairman can only be removed from his office if found guilty of any misconduct after a thorough inquiry or due to mental disability,” he added.

According to him, the appointment of Nadra chairman is a statutory appointment for a term of three years. Earlier, Malik challenged his removal as chairman Nadra in IHC and filed a petition. An official of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that Malik’s termination as Chairman Nadra was not carried out at an appropriate time as it coincided with the issuance of the schedule for local bodies elections by the Commission. However, he added that though the government could terminate a government functionary at this stage, it could not transfer or make new appointments on important posts which may cast doubts in the minds of political parties and voters.

Sources maintained that some senior leaders of PML-N had pressurised Malik to verify the thumb impressions in accordance with their will for NA-118 Lahore where Riaz Hussain Malik of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been declared successful, while M. Zaman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had challenged his rival’s victory; however Malik reportedly declined. The other reason for his dismissal, sources added, was differences over several issues with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. According to Nadra ordinance 2000 the federal government may remove the Chairman or any member from office if-

(a) Upon an inquiry, he is found incapable of performing the functions of his office by reason of mental or physical incapacity or has been found guilty of misconduct; or (b) After his appointment he is disqualified from being so appointed as provided in subsection (4). Malik was promoted from Deputy Chairman to Chairman Nadra on July 12, 2012. He also served as General Manager Network Directorate Nadra and led Nadra Technologies in his capacity as CEO.

Reliable sources in Establishment Division claim that the Nadra Chairman and six other officers in the Authority had dual nationality during the term of the previous government and this could be one of many reasons eventually cited for his removal, they claim. Sources further said the official record showed that the Establishment Division sent a letter to chief secretaries of all provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan in November 2012 directing them to prepare a list of those officials who hold dual nationality. The name of Chairman Nadra and six other officers came under the spotlight.

Authors: Fazal Sher and Wasim Iqbal

Source: Business Recorder Report