ISLAMABAD - National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) Chairman Tariq Malik on Tuesday quit his position following a controversy surrounding personal data leak of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir and his family.
Malik submitted his three-page resignation to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in a meeting at the latter's office, which was also attended by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan and Principal Secretary to PM Syed Tauqir Hussain Shah. “I find it increasingly difficult to work in a charged and polarized political environment,” he said in his resignation, a copy of which is available with The Nation. “It is difficult for any professional to maintain his integrity and independence in an environment that constantly pigeon-holes people in an ‘us versus them’ logic and where political loyalty is privileged over competence,” it further reads. Malik, in his resignation, also pleaded the prime minister not to appoint a serving or retired bureaucrat to this role. “The organization deserves a thorough professional with a background in technology and management,” he said, adding that Nadra cannot afford further political experimentation. Malik was appointed as Nadra chairman for the second time in June 2021 by the then government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He had been facing immense pressure to resign from his boss Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, days after reports emerged that some officials of the authority had been found involved in leaking personal data of the Army chief and his family. The authority itself conducted an investigation and initiated criminal proceedings against six officials for their alleged involvement in unauthorized access to the data of Gen Munir’s family. Following this, Malik found himself in hot water. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) initiated an investigation against him in a case of procurement of chip-based cards that are used for issuance of computerized national identity cards. Similarly, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also questioned him regarding complaints about recruitments made in the authority during his stint.