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Nadra chairman tells IHC he was under govt pressure

13 December, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman, Tariq Malik, has hit back at the PML–N government in the Islamabad High Court by stating that he was being harassed by the government while Nadra was verifying the thumb impressions of constituencies of the National Assembly on the orders of Election Tribunals.

In his reply submitted in the IHC, a copy of which is available with The News, Tariq Malik has submitted that he took bold stances against the illegal orders of ex-Interior Minister Rehman Malik on plenty of occasions.

The statement of the defiant Nadra chairman says that 'since he is exercising oversight over the process of verification of thumb impressions in relation to allegations of massive rigging in the elections of 2013 in assisting the Election Commission and as being directed by Election Tribunals, the government has endeavoured to influence the exercise being undertaken by Nadra and seek information regarding the same, which has been denied as mandated by the orders of the Election Tribunals.'

It is worth mentioning here that the government's basic plea before the Supreme Court in the Nadra chairman case is that he was removed from his position in compliance with the apex court's judgment in Khwaja Asif Case ordering removal of all illegally appointed heads and top officials of departments public corporations and authorities.

Regarding his removal, Chairman Tariq Malik has taken a plea that even if the government had a considered opinion that he is among such heads of statutory bodies who have been appointed in an illegal or irregular manner, the only discretion and authority it was left with after the Khawaja Muhammad Asif case judgment by the Supreme Court was to refer such complaint to the Selection Commission to be investigated by such competent authority in accordance with due process.

The Supreme Court has prescribed the procedure for scrutinizing and removing heads of statutory bodies and investigating allegations of wrongful appointments. The judgment states that a committee be formed which besides other issues also 'investigate complaints about unfair appointment process.

Tariq Malik has also complained that the government has continued to harass him and obstruct the assiduous discharge of duties by him in order to usurp the statutory independence of Nadra and reduce a nationally important statutory body to an attached department of the Interior Division as is evident from record related to international projects, briefing of the media and travel of employees of Nadra.

Regarding defiance of orders of Rehman Malik, the Chairman Nadra has submitted in the IHC that even though appointed by the previous regime, he refused to abide the diktat of such regime in discharge of his official functions for which he earned the ire of the previous regime as well evidenced by available record. For instance: i. He terminated a questionable NICOP outsourcing project awarded previously by Nadra despite the then Minister of Interior A Rehman Malik's opposition. ii. His successful resistance to the then Minister/Adviser of Interior A. Rehman Malik's illegal creation and appointed of deputy chairmen in Nadra against Nadra authority's disapproval, including successful litigation in IHC in writ petition No 4275/2012, compelling the minister to rescind the illegal appointments. iii. His refusal to process arms Licence applications approved by the Ministry of Interior, headed by then PPP minister, who publicly (but wrongly) announced resumption of issuance of licences despite a stay order by the Sindh High Court in CP No D 3319/2012.

The reply also mentions that Tariq Malik was 'responsible for the preparation of voter lists within Nadra and prepared the said list of such veracity and integrity that it was never disputed by any political party in the context of election results, and it was also on the basis of such voter-list that the PML-N returned victorious and formed government at the centre and in Punjab and Balochistan.'

End.

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