ISLAMABAD: National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) chairman Tariq Malik resigned from his post on Friday, with the Additional Secretary Ministry of Interior Affairs Imtiaz Tajwar replacing him for now, according to Radio Pakistan.
Sources say Malik cited personal reasons behind his resignation.
Tajwar will hold the additional charge of NADRA chairman for the next few days till NADRA Board meets to select an interim Chairman.
A press release from the Ministry stated that the new full-time Chairman NADRA will be appointed on merit through an advertisement, as per the NADRA Ordinance, in the next few days.
On December 31, after initiating a formal inquiry, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had summoned the NADRA chairman to file his reply about the irregularities discovered within NADRA but Malik did not appear before the inquiry committee.
“I am constrained to believe that the FIA’s inquiry is part of the smear and victimisation campaign which is a sequel to my sudden removal without following due process,” Malik had earlier said.
In a surprise move, the government had removed Malik on the night of December 3 and appointed a new chairman within hours. However, the IHC had reinstated him the next morning and suspended his termination orders.
The Nadra chairman had written in a letter to the Federal Interior Secretary rejecting allegations levelled against him by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
The FIA had started probing about the interior ministry’s show-cause notice and charge-sheet prepared by the audit authorities.
Interior ministry, in the last week of December, had issued a four-page show-cause notice to Malik, levelling against him charges of concealing the facts, misuse of official powers and financial irregularities.
Malik had said the issue of his sacking was being heard in the Islamabad High Court, but the interior minister chose to level “baseless allegations” at a press conference.
The chairman's sacking had come 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 candidate Malik Riaz.
On December 12, Malik had insisted that no rules were violated upon his assumption of office, dismissing a government claim that his appointment was illegal.
He had also clarified that his appointment as member (of the authority) was not a promotion nor did it involve or entail any financial consequences since he did not draw any remuneration.
The Supreme Court had directed IHC on December 10 to settle the case in a month. Forwarding the government’s request challenging the reinstatement, the apex court had also ordered the IHC to make a decision regarding its stay order in 15 days.
The opposition parties had teamed up against the government over sacking as they built up their case that the move was aimed at concealing rigging in general elections.
The Express Tribune had also learnt that an audit team – on the wishes of National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and the interior minister – had prepared a 14-point charge-sheet against the NADRA chief.
Malik’s counsel had rejected government’s claims.