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Removal of NADRA chief 'justified', Nisar tells NA

06 December, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday justified its decision to remove the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Chairman Tariq Malik, who was immediately reinstated by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Although Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan responded to the allegations raised by the opposition, he said the matter was sub judice and the government has challenged the IHC decision in the Supreme Court. He said he was answering the queries about this matter out of compulsion and to put the record straight. However, he assured the House that the government will implement the decision of the court in this case, "contrary to the practice of the past regime, which did not implement several orders of the court".

Nisar started with the appointment procedure of Tariq Malik and said he was taken as general manager of NADRA without following the due process. Later on, the incumbent chairman, he said, was taken as deputy chairman, a post which does not exist as per rules and then was promoted to the office of the chairman. "The previous government did not invite applications for the post of chairman and appointed Malik to the office through relaxation of rules," Nisar said and added that he can produce documentary evidence before this House.

The minister revealed that the incumbent chairman had been refusing to present the accounts of NADRA for audit, despite being sent two letters in this regard.. In addition, he said, the chairman had been "leaking" news to the media without prior approval of his ministry. PTI Chairman Imran Khan had said that his party is of the opinion that the government had removed the NADRA chairman to disrupt the thumb impression verification of voters. "The chairman was under pressure for quite some time and was removed at the end," he added.

"We have demanded the verification of votes and would like to have government's justification over the decision," Imran added. Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah said he was concerned because there were allegations of rigging, and the NADRA chairman's removal at this juncture gave credence to suspensions. "Government's decision to approach the Supreme Court makes the move more suspicious," he added.

The government should have let the chairman complete his tenure, he added. Shah Mehmood Qureshi from the PTI also asked the government as to why it had removed the NADRA chairman in the middle of the night without following the due process.


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