Interior Ministry looking for an ‘ideal’ NADRA boss

* Slot advertised for the first time, but appears tailored to suit an IT professional who has worked closely with Punjab CM

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Interior has belatedly sought applications for the slot of chairman of the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA). 
Various invisible pluses aside, the ‘ideal’ candidate must be young, a former government employee and a PhD degree holder. The advertisement, however, appears tailored to suit an IT professional who has not only worked closely with the Punjab CM over the past many years but also his father claims to be an unofficial adviser to the third time premier.
While it’s the first time that the slot has been advertised instead of out-rightly handpicking a blue-eyed, the process appears to be mere an eyewash.
“The role requires the national IT database to build cross-cutting solutions in sectors such as healthcare, education and social protection, and a high degree of collaboration with multiple government departments. The ideal candidate must have a demonstrative capability to work with multiple government agencies, build and manage a team of innovative technology professionals and interface with the IT industry,” reads the most explicit part of the advertisement published in the media on Thursday.
For the elite of the IT industry, there is little left to imagination if the advertisement is read carefully and contextually. Since the PML-N’s ‘ideal’ candidate already holds a doctorate degree, the advertisement states that the applicant must have “a PhD in IT-related field or an MBA from a world-class university”.
His Wikipedia page boats him to have launched several initiatives aimed at improving services for police, high courts, city district government and health.
As regards experience in the education sector, the ‘ideal’ candidate, according to his Wikipedia profile, “is largely credited with revamping the intermediate and matric exam system in Punjab”. 
Moreover, the candidate claims to have created “smartphone-based early epidemic warning system that played a central role in fighting the dengue epidemic in Punjab in 2012”.
His clout with the Punjab CM and his academic background aside, the suitable candidate’s father has exceptional access to the ears of the country’s chief executive.
None of the previous four bosses at NADRA had a doctorate degree, nor was it needed, says a senior official at the FPSC, requesting anonymity.
About 14-year-old organisation does have competent professionals, who should be considered for the slot owing to their expertise, dedication and basically meeting most of the criteria stipulated in the call for applications on Thursday. However, they have little chance given strong support of a top official of the Interior Ministry for the ‘ideal’. 
Lack of level-playing field for the top slot in NADRA has chronically damaged the authority’s credibility, given the previous chairmen being handpicked by the respective rulers. The ugly tradition seems to be continuing as the PML-N allegedly plans to play favourites. Sources close to Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan say that the minister himself favours a candidate on merit, but the PML-N does not wish to be adventurous, given the pending forensics probe in four Punjab constituencies.
Though the advertisement demolishes sand castles of the acting chairman for being considered for the slot, he does get at least another month to enjoy the perks and powers of the additional charge. 
Imtiaz Tajwar, a joint secretary at the Ministry of Interior and now acting chairman of NADRA, has long exceeded the stipulated 60-day time period, as per the ordinance concerned. 
He was appointed the acting chairman on January 10, thus after his 60th day in office, all CNICs or other cards issued or whatever decisions taken stand illegal.
Daily Times consulted various legal experts on the matter, who unanimously concluded that without any interim legal instrument, there is no provision of acting chairman exercising powers of the authority’s chairman.
“The serious violation can easily become nightmarish for the government if the judiciary take a suo motu on the issuance of 50,000 cards every day with the signature of someone who has no legal standing to be there,” says a consultant to the Ministry of Law.

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