Servicemen can become Nadra chairman after tweaks in rules

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chairs meeting of the federal cabinet on August 22, 2023. — NNI
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar chairs meeting of the federal cabinet on August 22, 2023. — NNI
  • Cabinet okays appointment on deputation or secondment. 
  • Interim govt supposed to get ECP’s permission for this appointment. 
  • Nadra Ordinance says independent persons can be appointed head.

ISLAMABAD: The interim federal cabinet has approved the controversial rules for the appointment of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) chairman, which opens doors to the servicemen to be deputed as the head of this institution, The News reported.

Credible sources told The News that the summary received by the Cabinet Division from the Ministry of Interior, in which filling the extraordinary position of NADRA chairman on a deputation or secondment basis has been clearly approved for inclusion in the new rules.

The sources also expressed surprise at this development because the process of appointing the head of a sensitive institution like Nadra had reached the names of at least three final candidates.

The final candidates were former Nadra chairman Usman Mubeen, bureaucrat and former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif’s appointed acting Nadra chairman Asad Gilani, and Ahmed Kamal who is associated with a private mobile phone company.

However, even for this appointment, the caretaker government had to get permission from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Instead of taking permission to appoint the Nadra chairman according to merit, the caretaker government changed the rules for making this appointment in a meeting headed by caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.

Now, a serving servicemen can be appointed head of this institution of extraordinary importance.

Sources said that the caretaker government has no authority to change the rules but this authority has been exercised.

The Nadra Ordinance clearly states that only an independent person can be appointed to this post, which means that no government official, retired officer or secretary can be given this position.

It is worth mentioning here that Nadra has to perform the most important responsibilities with the ECP in the upcoming elections.

Sources say the chief election commissioner will decide whether this first and most controversial decision of the caretaker government is wrong or right.


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