Two days after his predecessor Tariq Malik resigned, Asad Rehman Gilani on Friday assumed additional charge as the new chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
In a tweet, the authority confirmed that Gilani — who is a grade 22 officer of the Pakistan Civil Service and also the secretary of the Board of Investment — has joined the Nadra headquarters in Islamabad.
It said that on his first day at work today, Gilani visited different departments and instructed the employees to perform their duties efficiently while ensuring uninterrupted services to the public.
“He expressed the determination to continue efforts to improve the provision of Nadra services,” the authority said.
The bureaucrat also visited the Nadra Regional Head Offices to review operational activities and directed the heads of all Nadra departments to clear the backlog of ID card printing by continuing to work over the weekend, Nadra added.
Gilani’s appointment comes on the heels of Malik’s sudden resignation on June 14 — a year before the completion of his three-year term.
The resignation was submitted by him during a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. It came months after a controversy over the leak of data regarding the family of the army chief, entailing action against some employees by Malik.
“I find it increasingly difficult to work in a charged and polarised political environment. 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,” read the three-page resignation, which was seen by Dawn.
In his resignation, Malik had also pleaded to the prime minister not to appoint a serving or retired bureaucrat as his replacement and instead pick a professional and technical person.
“The organisation deserves a thorough professional with a background in technology and management,” he had said, adding that Nadra could not afford further political experimentation.
Malik was appointed Nadra chairman for a second time in June 2021 by the then PTI government. He had reportedly been facing immense pressure from the interior minister to resign after reports emerged that some officials of the authority had been found involved in leaking the personal data of the army chief and his family.
However, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addressing a press conference a day earlier said that the resignation of the Nadra chairman had nothing to do with the data leak issue.
“He was facing no pressure to resign,” he asserted, adding that action had already been taken against all those involved in the data leak.