ISLAMABAD: The current chief of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), Usman Yousaf Mobin, who completes his tenure on Feb 5, is set to be re-appointed for another three years.

Sources privy to the development told Dawn that as many as 183 people, including three from within Nadra, had applied for the post that was recently advertised on the basis of a decision taken by the federal cabinet.

According to a senior official of the Interior Ministry, five of the six short-listed applicants were interviewed on Wednesday by a high-level committee, headed by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal. Other members of the committee include the Interior secretary, additional secretaries of the Ministries of Interior, Finance, Law as well as the establishment division, and two members of the Nadra board.

Besides Mr Mobin, Dr Khawar Siddique Khokhar, Muha­mmad Amir Malik, Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah and Muhammad Sarwar Gondal were called for interview. The official said that Mr Mobin was the only Nadra officer to appear on the list of shortlisted candidates and, in all probability, would be selected through a merit-based process by virtue of a long list of achievements during his tenure as Nadra chairman, and even prior to that.

Before being appointed as the registrar general of Pakistan on Feb 6, 2015, he served as Nadra’s chief technology officer. He was a recipient of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for meritorious services in the public service.

“What makes him distinct among the short-listed candidates is his rich experience and unmatched expertise,” an official said. Recounting his achievements, he said that Mr Mobin had designed and led the development of Pakistan’s identity cards system (2002-12), the passport system (2005), the border management system (2010) and several large-scale public sector projects in areas of national security and social protection.

He had also led the design and development of Pakistan’s largest social protection programme, including the earthquake reconst­r­uction and rehabilitation (2005-06), the Benazir Income Support Programme (2009) and Watan cards.

As the main architect of Nadra’s technology infrastructure, he had played a key role in the transformation of the organisation’s small technology base with outsourced operations, to one of the most highly reputed identity management systems in the world with complete self-sufficiency in the development and management of its technology.

He had also led the design and development of Sudan’s complete civil registration programme, Nigeria’s identity management system, Kenya’s passports, and Bangladesh’s driving licences, besides playing a pivotal role in winning the election management system contract in Fiji.

Other contenders in the run include Dr Khokhar, former member (Technical) at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Dr Khokhar has more than 20 years of professional experience to his credit. He has worked on Myson Engineering Systems, NCR Corporation and Suparco. He has also worked on the performance evaluation of WiMAX physical layer using measured channel parameters in 2.5 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 5.8 GHz band in the UK.

Dr Khokhar has been involved in the mobile channel characterisation for 3G/UMTS. He has been a visiting faculty member at various reputed universities and has a number of publications in international journals and conferences.

Another short-listed applicant is Mr Amir Malik, a former IT member at the Ministry of Information Technology, the managing director of the Pakistan Software Export Board and the chief executive officer of Pak Datacom Limited, Pakistan. He has worked as the head of regulatory compliance at Ufone, the PTML and at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in the capacity of director (ICT). His earlier work experience includes working with SAP AG, Air France, Schlum­berger, and Alcatel CIT.

Mr Malik holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering with Honours from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Pakistan, and a Masters in Computer Science and Telecom­munication Engineering with Honours from ENSIMAG, INPG, Fra­nce. He is also an alumna of Lawrence College, Murree.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2018

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