ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the name of Tariq Malik, who is currently serving at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), for his appointment as National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) chairman following a rigorous selection process.
Mr Malik had served in Nadra in the past as well, while the UNDP had picked him from amongst 178 IT experts from across the world.
The decision was made public by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry at a press briefing on the weekly cabinet meeting.
The announcement came at a time when an ordinance authorising and binding the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to procure electronic voting machines and giving right of vote to overseas Pakistanis through Internet voting system holds the field.
Prior to joining the UNDP, Mr Malik held the position of a senior technical consultant at World Bank. He was a member of the core team who helped initiate the worldwide ‘ID for Development’ programme as well as authored the framework of international standards for digital identity.
He is among the 10 core members of World Bank’s Technical Experts Group (TEG) supporting client countries with ID planning and implementation. A European think tank, Apolitical, ranked him among the World’s 100 Most Influential People in ‘Digital Government’. One World Identity (OWI) — a New York-based independent identity research and strategy think tank, focused on cyber security, digital commerce and risk management, named him among Top 100 Digital Influencers in the ‘Digital Community’.
Before joining World Bank, Mr Malik helped governments to optimise use of Big Data and advanced data analytics from the platform of Teradata Inc. US.
As Nadra chairman, he confirmed that the then opposition’s demand to verify that the 2013 elections were free and fair was possible to be met through thumb impression verification using the biometric system. He was terminated from service by the then Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government though the Islamabad High Court restored him the next day.
However, a month later he resigned, alleging extreme pressure from the government and unknown party workers who threatened to kidnap him and his family.
Informed sources told Dawn that 109 IT experts were among the applicants for the coveted position of Nadra chairman including Usman Yusuf Mobeen, who assumed charge of chief technology officer (CTO) after his second term as Nadra chief had expired in February. Interestingly, Mr Mobeen is currently subordinate to an official who in recent past was his chief of staff (a new name given in the authority to principal staff officer). Brig (retd) Khalid Latif, the incumbent acting chairman of Nadra, had served as Mr Mobeen’s staff officer for around two years.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2021