Nadra to be under ECP control for three months: Nisar
ISLAMABAD: In order to complete the process of verifying thumb impressions of voters in a transparent manner, the government has decided to place the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) under the administrative control of the Election Commission of Pakistan for three months.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said at a press conference on Sunday that the decision had been approved by the prime minister. A legal framework will be prepared in consultation with the ECP and formal orders will be issued on Monday (today). The ECP should now find out if magnetised ink has been obtained and their batches inspected to see if these meet the required specification and places where it cannot be used.
Chaudhry Nisar said this was being done under an arrangement between the ECP, Nadra and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), adding that he would suggest to the Ministry of Science and Technology to give administrative control of the PCSIR to the ECP for three months.
He said that under the acting Chief Election Commissioner, the ECP was the forum which could find out the truth. If it was not done in three months he would approach court, the minister added.
There are many facts which the people should know. He said he would send a questionnaire to the ECP over the next few days. It should also be investigated if magnetised ink was at all required for the verification process and, if it was so important, he asked, why it was not being used for local government elections. Those involved in wrongdoings should be punished.
“The ECP should thoroughly probe the matter and I will order registration of FIRs and arrest of culprits,” he said, adding that the FIA would carry out instructions of the ECP during the three months.
Chaudhry Nisar said he was unable to understand why FIR was not registered about problem in a few constituencies of Karachi. He said he had offered to make retired Justice Wajihuddin of the PTI in-charge of the process of verifying thumb impressions. “We have made the offer because we have confidence in Justice Wajih.”
NADRA CHIEF: Although the interior minister said repeatedly that he would not go into details on the controversy about termination of the contract of Nadra chairman, a substantive part of his press conference was devoted to the matter.
He said Nadra Chairman Mohammad Tariq Malik held nationality of four countries.
He undertook over 100 foreign visits in five years, most of them without permission from the prime minister and the controlling ministry.
Chaudhry Nisar said there were serious allegations against Mr Malik, including financial misappropriation and award of contracts in violation of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority rules. All his three appointments — induction as general manager and elevation to the post of deputy chairman and to that of chairman — were illegal. “I will bring many facts on record after a verdict by the court in the case,” the minister said, adding that the role of the previous government in the matter would also be revealed. He said the Nadra chairman had initially resisted an audit but reluctantly agreed when he had been told in clear terms that those refusing audit would not remain chief executive officers. He said the preliminary audit reports had ‘earthshaking revelations’.
He said Mr Malik was drawing a monthly salary of Rs2.1 million. “Had he been inducted as chairman under the Nadra Ordinance his salary would have ranged between Rs250,000 and Rs300,000 in MP-1 scale. He uses his contacts to withdraw the hefty salary, but when it comes to his termination he refers to the Nadra Ordinance,” the minister said, adding that he would not allow this plunder to continue in any department under his ministry. “The government has invested billions of rupees to set up Nadra. This is public money and I am there to protect public money.”
He said that during the proceedings of a Senate committee, Mr Malik claimed to have studied at Harvard and Stanford. “These claims amount to perjury as he merely attended two-to-three-day seminars there.”
Chaudhry Nisar rejected a perception that the decision to sack Mr Malik was taken late at night.