Public Accounts Committee asks NADRA to sack two deputy chairman
By: Shahbaz Rana
ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday declared the appointments of two deputy chairmen of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) illegal and directed the government to either remove them from their posts immediately or justify its stance.
The committee acted in response to a decision of the NADRA Authority Board that had unanimously decided that the interior ministry did not have any authority to appoint deputy chairmen in the body.
“The PAC upholds the decision of the NADRA Authority Board and orders the government to de-notify them within one week,” said PAC Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan, directing his secretaries to inform the principal secretary to the prime minister about the PAC’s decision with a desire to implement it at the earliest.
The accountability body, however, did not rule on recovering the amount incurred on the hefty salaries and other benefits these officials have been receiving.
Earlier, the PAC chairman had given the interior ministry time to justify the appointments and clarify its stance. Interior Minister Rehman Malik had appointed Dr Tahir Ikram as deputy chairman in June this year while Naveed Jan was appointed deputy chairman human resources a month later.
While the tussle over the controversial appointments continued, NADRA Authority Board, headed by its chairman Tariq Malik, refused to endorse the appointments, terming them illegal and politically motivated.
During the meeting, PAC members stated that the political appointments at NADRA ahead of the upcoming general elections were aimed at fudging the voters’ lists. Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Waseem Akhtar accused the Awami National Party of throwing its weight behind Jaan’s appointment.
Responding to a question, Additional Interior Secretary Shahid Hameed said that the matter of appointments of the deputy chairmen was sub judice therefore the de-notification of officials may not be possible. However, the PAC did not accept his argument.
Meanwhile, in a stern warning the PAC also directed NADRA to allow the auditors to access its accounts within ten days or it would be listed as an entity obstructing the audit. The additional interior secretary agreed to give access to the office of the auditor general of Pakistan within the stipulated time.