ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the national assembly on Thursday that interim government and election commission are answerable for not using magnetic ink in the general elections.

“Instead of carrying out verification of thumb impression only in four constituencies, it should be carried out in all 272 constituencies but result will almost be same as magnetic ink was not used in the polls,” said Nisar in response to questions from the opposition parties, which raised serious concerns over the removal of Nadra Chairman Tariq Mailk.

Offering to assign the job to Justice (r) Wajihuddin, as the issue fell outside the scope of minister’s authority, Nisar said he would not allow any wrongdoing at any cost. About the removal of Nadra chairman, he assured the House that the verdict of the court would be fully implemented. He shared with the House that Tariq Malik was appointed as GM in Nadra without any advertisement.

“A seat of deputy chairman was created against the Nadra rules and then he (Tariq) was promoted to chairman without any advertisement by relaxing the rules,” he informed, adding that Tariq Malik was also reluctant for audit of Nadra despite the reminders. “I even warned him of sacking and also sent written orders” and only then he submitted the required documents.

The minister further said that chairman was drawing one million rupees salary which would now be decreased. He further said that in future Nadra chairman would be selected as per Nadra ordinance. “I will not do any wrong thing even if it goes against my government,” he added.

Responding to the concern raised by AML chief Sheikh Rasheed about Rawalpindi incident, he said that dozens of persons involved in the incident have been arrested. He said Judicial Commission formed by the Punjab government is investigating the tragedy. He said recommendations of the committee formed by the provincial government have been received. “Though it is a provincial subject but federal government is extending cooperation to the federal government,” he added.

Nisar lauded role of Ulemas who demonstrated patience and tolerance after the tragedy. He said there were serious threats of terrorist acts during the first ten days of Muharram. “Due to cooperation of federal and provincial government and with the grace of Allah no untoward incident happened,” he added. He said that country was already facing different challenges and any clash of different sects could prove devastating.

Earlier, raising serious concerns Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said the removal of Nadra chairman has created many doubts. “If he was removed, why number two was not appointed on his place,” he asked. Taking the floor, PTI chairman Imran Khan asked the government to explain the reasons behind his sudden removal.

PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi viewed that the chairman was removed due to pressure regarding verification of finger printing in one of the Lahore constituencies. “Why he was not given show cause notice and removed in such a way,” he asked. “What would be the fate of 65 petitions? Who is responsible if magnetic ink was not used?“ he further asked, adding that all these concerns must be addressed.

Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique said that opposition parties should adopt a rational approach. “If Pakistan could not progress in five years then it will be responsibility of all major parties, which are ruling in different provinces,” he said, adding that it was not appropriate to level allegation after losing a seat in Punjab. PML-N legislator Capt Safdar said that KPK government should deliver in the province, and that the forest was being wiped out by the mafia.

Earlier, The Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, during question hour, told the House that privatisation of Pakistan Steel Mill (PSM) was under consideration but the government has not taken any final decision in this regard. He said that upon finalisation of the proposal, the final dates for the implementation would be shared with the parliamentarians. He said a list of 31 entities has been prepared for privatisation.

Rana Afzal said the Privatisation Commission during the period from 2002 to 2008 has earned Rs349.652 billion through privatisation of 49 transactions. He said that outstanding sale proceeds during the last ten years amounts to Rs79,619 million (outstanding sale proceeds due from Etisalat for PTCL Privatisation). To another question, he said that the State Bank of Pakistan does not buy dollars from the open market. Replying to a question, he said the total external public debt of the country stood at $48,500 million as on Sept 30, 2013.