Nadra chief quits over COAS family data leak controversy

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.

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