NADRA awaits Rs597 million owed by ECP
By Taha Siddiqui
Authority says its operations are being crippled due to non-payment.
ISLAMABAD: Efforts to ensure a free and fair election process by the Election Commission of Pakistan in coordination with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) may be hampered by a monetary dispute between the commission and the authority, The Express Tribune learnt on Tuesday.
Sources in the interior ministry revealed that NADRA, which had been contracted to complete electoral lists last year by the ECP, had not received dues incurred during the process of updating, printing and verifying electoral rolls, to date.
According to documents available with The Express Tribune, NADRA had sent out numerous reminders addressed to the Joint Secretary of the ECP, Sher Afgan, after the authority successfully completed the second phase of the project in January.
The reminder states that NADRA had accumulated expenses totalling Rs597,263,000 (Rs597 million) to date, requesting immediate clearance of the payment. The expenses incurred by NADRA included costs of verification of more than 80 million national identity cards, the digitisation and printing of forms, and the printing costs of by-election documentations.
The authority in its reminder emphasised that any further delay in the clearance of these dues could seriously hamper the operations and printing of electoral rolls.
Sources also revealed to The Express Tribune that ECP Joint Secretary Sher Afgan had not paid any heed to the reminders sent by NADRA.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing a case regarding voters’ list completion and has already sought explanations from the ECP and NADRA over the delay in processing.
According to a source in NADRA, the organisation is at risk of serious financial setbacks if payments are not cleared by the ECP. The official went on to say that the ECP was not the only defaulter, adding that other government departments, such as the Passport Office had also not cleared due to the authority.
Another source, however, claimed that meetings had taken place between NADRA chairman and the acting chief election commissioner, who had assured to expedite the payment process.