ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday refused Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s formula to take control of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
In a statement, the ECP said that the government has no authority to give the administrative control of an independent institution to another institution. The government had announced giving the administrative control of NADRA to the ECP for three months to ascertain truth about the verification of thumb impressions and other controversies that had arisen after the termination of NADRA Chairman Tariq Malik.
The election commission expressed its inability to exercise powers for verification of thumb impressions of voters. On Monday last, the Ministry of Interior had asked the commission to exercise these powers for three months for transparency in the thumb impression verification process. The commission, in its meeting on Thursday, observed that the constitution and the law do not seem to provide for exercising the power of issuing of any direction regarding verification of thumb impressions, especially when it is being done as a result of electoral activity conducted by the commission itself.
The government had earlier announced that in order to complete the process of verifying thumb impressions of voters in a transparent manner, it has decided to place NADRA under the administrative control of the ECP for three months. Interior Minister Nisar said at a press conference on Sunday that the decision had been approved by the prime minister. He said a legal framework will be prepared in consultation with the ECP. The ECP, he said, should now find out if magnetised ink has been obtained and their batches inspected to see if these meet the required specification and places where it cannot be used. Nisar said this was being done under an arrangement between the ECP, NADRA and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR).
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