Govt all thumbs?: Within hours, NADRA chief sacked then reinstated

Published: December 4, 2013
Tariq Malik. PHOTO: FILE

Tariq Malik. PHOTO: FILE


Verification of voters’ thumb impressions in May 2013 general elections would clarify if polling in certain constituencies was rigged. If nobody tampered with the thumb impressions while casting their votes, there was no reason for anyone to get upset at the National Database Registration Authority verifying them.

However, some were not happy at the chairman going ahead with the thumb impression verifications on the directives of the election tribunals, sources told The Express Tribune.

In a move that raised many an eyebrow, NADRA chairman Tariq Malik was sacked on Tuesday and Brig (retd) Zahid Hussain, NADRA’s Sindh director geenral, was given charge. However, within a few hours, Islamabad High Court (IHC) restored Tariq Malik.

Malik’s sacking came only days after an election tribunal asked NADRA to verify the thumb impressions of voters from the Lahore constituency NA-118, won by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Malik Riaz.

Tariq Malik was summoned by Punjab Chief Minister in Lahore on Monday where he was kept busy till late in the night. “The chief minister did not meet him. He was received by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah who talked of thumb impressions verification in NA-118,” a source close to the Nadra chief’s office told The Express Tribune.

Sanaullah asked Tariq Malik for a ‘compromise’ on the thumb impressions’ verification in the constituency by giving the PML-N candidate a clean chit. “Failing [to do so], he would have to face consequences,” said the officials.

The NADRA chairman chose to ‘face the consequences’. The same night the Cabinet Division issued his termination orders and the new chairman was given charge in a hurry. Sources claim that Tariq Malik was kept busy in a meeting in Lahore so that he could not move the court against his termination.

He, however, managed to reach Islamabad, and filed an application in the IHC that immediately restored him. Malik maintained that he could not be sacked under NADRA rules, without giving him any reasons. His contract was still valid for almost two years.

IHC Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi suspended Tariq Malik’s termination notification till December 11 and issued a notice to the Establishment Division secretary. The court also suspended the appointment notification of Brig (retd) Hussain as chairman and issued a notice to him which was received by his counsel Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen.

The court also sought a reply from the Establishment Division secretary and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) chairman by December 11.

Advocate Babar Sattar, counsel for the petitioner, challenging the notification argued that his client was removed from service without giving any solid reasons. His client was appointed as chairman on June 17, 2012, on a contract for three years under Section 3(12) of the NADRA Ordinance, he maintained.

“There was neither any show-cause notice nor any reason for removal in the notification which is against Section 3(12) of the ordinance,” argued Sattar in a packed courtroom.

He said Tariq Malik was being targeted for assisting ECP’s efforts to ensure free, fair and transparent election by employing the latest technological means, such as biometric identification and verification.

During the hearing, Saqib Jamal, NADRA’s legal manager, argued that the government had issued a notification and appointed Brig Hussain. He informed the court that the government had engaged advocate Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen who provided his power of attorney before the court.

Advocate Shaheen requested the court not to suspend the notification regarding Brig Hussain as, he claimed, smooth functioning of the authority would be affected. However, the court questioned whether the authority was functioning smoothly in the first place.

Security threats

The database authority was working on verification of thumb impressions in 11 constituencies. NADRA chairman had already communicated to the interior ministry that he received threats from anonymous people asking him to abandon thumb verification.

Tariq Malik wrote a letter to the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) of the interior ministry – a copy of which was made available to The Express Tribune, informing them of the anonymous written threat.

Malik provided the copies of the written threat in Urdu along with its envelope to the NCMC. The NADRA chief and his family also received threatening phone calls. The details of the mobile numbers and those holding those numbers available with NADRA were also provided to the ministry.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 4th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Vamp
    Dec 4, 2013 - 3:13AM

    Noora at its best to cover election rigging.


  • Usman
    Dec 4, 2013 - 3:14AM

    Forget these little unimportant issues, lets talk about empty chairs at the PTI dharna.


  • Usman
    Dec 4, 2013 - 3:15AM

    We love democracy but hate doing things properly according to the law. If Imran Khan was making noise b/c of rigging, its because the heavy mandate of the PMLN is a farce. And here we were being lectured on how to move on and forget the elections.


  • Truth
    Dec 4, 2013 - 3:29AM

    He should ALSO be sacked and punished for the following CRIMES:
    1. Dubious Issuance of CNIC to Afghanis and other foreigners
    2. Dubious issuance of passport to non pakistani nationals


  • sunny
    Dec 4, 2013 - 3:34AM

    We are with you!!


  • Alsaaber
    Dec 4, 2013 - 3:36AM

    The constituency in question NA-118 is held by none other than the famous MALIK RIAZ of PML.
    The same person involved in bribing & blackmailing media persons, not too long ago.

    Sums it all up.


  • yamuri
    Dec 4, 2013 - 3:36AM

    Shame on corrupt politicians. Shame on PMLN and other thugs in their gang. Shame on all those people who let these criminals come into power yet again and compromised on their values and dignity. Shame shame shame!!!!!


  • Charlie Chaplen
    Dec 4, 2013 - 3:50AM

    starting from Railway, PIA, Steel Mill, WAPDA….and the next one on the list will be NADRA.


  • Mohammed
    Dec 4, 2013 - 4:04AM

    Mian Sahib is this the change that you promised? Isn`t this what the crooked PPP used to do? As the PTI has always maintained, there is no difference between the 2 sets of crooks.


  • Gp65
    Dec 4, 2013 - 4:10AM

    It is these backhanded tactics of the Sharif brothers that undermine confidence in democracy within the country and which reduce credibility overseas.

    PTI supporters, when you expect India to take this government’s words at face value, remember incidents like this which make you question their credibility and integrity.Recommend

  • Lala Din Merrasi
    Dec 4, 2013 - 5:33AM

    The 1998 drama being repeated (removing Musharraf and appointing Butt). This time it was Chief Minster House and not the PM House. Some never learn.


  • SK
    Dec 4, 2013 - 7:13AM


    Sir, this issue is as important as the KPK dharma. Here the issue is tempering and hijacking the nations mandate. The empty chairs may be the threat of prosecutions resulting from the unpleasantries of dharma mayhem.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Dec 4, 2013 - 8:04AM

    First consider few important points.
    1. There was a neutral caretaker government in the country.
    2. There was an independent and impartial Election Commission in the country.
    3. There was a strong, honest government department headed by a brave officer who was responsible to provide voter identity cards.
    4. There was a fearless, honest and independent judiciary looking after whole election process.
    5. There was a free, independent and hostile Media watching every voter and candidate.
    In presence of all these watchdogs, winners successfully cheated the whole system.
    The opponents of democratic government should bring something concrete.


  • Qasim
    Dec 4, 2013 - 8:17AM

    Shame on Sharif brothers for sacking one honest officer.


  • Fawad
    Dec 4, 2013 - 8:29AM

    @usman: You hit the nail on it’s head bro. Why are we wasting our time on such useless issues, we should discuss there were few empty chairs at PTI’s dharna.


  • ahmed
    Dec 4, 2013 - 8:30AM

    Now what PTI was saying all along is starting make sense.
    1. Care take PM PTI sethi has been appointed Chairman of PCB without ever seeing a Bat in his life before assignment
    2. A honest officer is being fired for doing his job….
    It seems Mians are the same as they before corrupt and willing to do anything to achieve power.
    Disappointing as it is …and it somehow there was no change in outlook and abilitity to do nothing worthwhile while as PPP govt was famous for….what a disappointment that is and sad state of affairs


  • Nikki
    Dec 4, 2013 - 8:34AM

    NADAR’s chairman was called by the Punjab CM?
    Should the chairman have to meet Shahbaz Sharif,why?
    Up right man always keeps integrity above always and everywhere.
    So political appointees should be ready to face all types of embarrasing situation in Pakistan.


  • PML N
    Dec 4, 2013 - 8:41AM

    Its a rumour. CM cannot threat NADRA chairman. May be Rana did that because Rana has been threatening his opponent in the past.


  • Saleem
    Dec 4, 2013 - 9:14AM

    @Lala Din Merrasi Your statement some never learn is an understatement. It should be some nations never learn by electing same old garbage year on year


  • Ali
    Dec 4, 2013 - 9:18AM

    An honest person can no longer work in this country.


  • Kaleem
    Dec 4, 2013 - 9:32AM

    The cases of treason, missing persons etc go unresolved for years after years. However, the court was very brisk in restoring him. I wont for now give him clean chit until the dust gets settled and situation is clear. For bashers, Good opportunity after six months.


  • Diretide
    Dec 4, 2013 - 9:34AM

    This tells us what one honest person can do to this corrupt system… !! and what about Rana Sanaullah shouldnt he be tried for threatning govertment officials … Corrupt politicians illiterate people !


  • Khan
    Dec 4, 2013 - 9:37AM

    The wicked ways of status quo politicians. Woe be upon them!Recommend

  • Iram
    Dec 4, 2013 - 10:11AM

    Shame looks an ordinary or small word, isn’t it?


  • Betel-Q8
    Dec 4, 2013 - 10:24AM

    Another of your headlines reads: “Pakistan Improves 10 Points in Corruption Index”.
    Seems PML-N government did not like it at all.


  • Zain
    Dec 4, 2013 - 10:27AM

    His crime is helping the ECP uncovering massive rigging in May elections


  • Ali
    Dec 4, 2013 - 10:47AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    There will be no democratic govt in the world which will sack public sector Chairman in mid-night & appoint new one at the same time, without giving any reason except PML-N. I wonder what criteria Nawaz followed to appoint new chairman during Mid-Night?


  • NDC
    Dec 4, 2013 - 11:21AM

    With every passing day the nation is missing Musharraf. The fraud democracy is showing the real teeth.


  • Zaka
    Dec 4, 2013 - 11:30AM

    The below survey published in The Dawn today is an eye opener regarding performance of PMLN:
    After this dismal performance a few paid media people are still praising the present rulers.


  • Np
    Dec 4, 2013 - 11:41AM

    When did PPP rig elections? If they had, they would nt have lost power.


  • Np
    Dec 4, 2013 - 11:47AM

    @PML N:

    If CM’s daughter can get a poor bakery employee thrashed because he did not give her a cake during the time that bakery was closed then anything is possible.


  • RX
    Dec 4, 2013 - 12:05PM

    Damn all you who politicize everything. The Dharna is suppose to be a wake up call, an opportunity to show solidarity as a nation against international interference.


  • Freedom Seeker
    Dec 4, 2013 - 4:42PM

    Nadra is wonderfull orgainzation performing excellent duties. I came across very pleasant experience when they deliver my kids IDs and passports before promised time which never happend before. I pray for this orgainsation and its chairman which made me proud. It ignited hope in Pakistan again. The courts also did great job by cancelling his termination.


  • Concerned
    Dec 4, 2013 - 6:14PM

    ECP should get all of punjab rechecked now, puts elections credibility in doubt


  • Dr Kashif
    Dec 4, 2013 - 11:14PM

    So sad Sharif family are repeating history by opting same corrupt measures


  • Shahid Basra
    Dec 5, 2013 - 12:32AM

    Shame for Nawaz and company. They don’t want to see any honest person in govt.


  • Mahboob Alam
    Dec 5, 2013 - 1:21AM

    If in the Govt Service, NADRA Chief cud not be removed without a Show Cause Notice giving reasoning of his removal, did Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister in 1998, had any Power to Remove the then Army Chief Pervez Musharraf without a Show Cause Notice giving Reasoning for his Removal while he was in the air, flying back to his Country from an Official Visit to Sri Lanka……….?Recommend

  • Omar Malik
    Dec 5, 2013 - 1:44AM

    Its time Nadra moved to using Electronic Voting Machines!

  • Syed
    Dec 5, 2013 - 5:29AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad: – Why not just answer the following question and don’t give me any other explanation.
    – Who gave the order to appoint Brig (retd) Zahid Hussain as Nadra chairman?
    – Why IHC restored Tariq Malik as Nadra chairman?
    – List item

    Thank you for your reponse if there would be any.


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Dec 5, 2013 - 1:11PM

    This was a PML-N’s tactic to delay local bodies elections and once again PML-N government has been failed in its local bodies’ elections delaying tactic because PML-N’s passed resolution has been useless and courts have rejected PML-N’s application to extend local government’s elections date……


  • Sajjad
    Dec 5, 2013 - 4:55PM

    What a pathetic and total illegal decision by govt. This elevates the credibility and good repute of chairman, Tariq Malik, as highly competent govt employee who should be high example for other govt department as not to give in illegal govt practtices.


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