ISLAMABAD -  The federal government has re-appointed Usman Yousuf Mobeen as Chairman National Database and Registration Authority for another three years amidst objections raised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf over the re-induction.

Mobeen’s service tenure had expired on February 5.

According to a notification issued by the Establishment Division: “The federal government is pleased to appoint Usman Yousuf Mobeen as Chairman National Database and Regulation Authority (NADRA), on existing terms and conditions, for three years in terms of Section 3(5) of the NADRA Ordinance, 2000, with immediate effect and until further orders.”    

Talking to The Nation, PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said that the re-appointment of Mobeen as NADRA chief was not acceptable for the party and the PTI will issue a policy statement today (Friday) in this regard. He said that the next general election was around the corner and the government has picked up a person out of 51 competent candidates, who has served for three years under the current government.  

The federal government had advertised the post of NADRA chairman on December 23, 2017and it had received 186 applications in this regard.

The secretary interior had shortlisted 51 candidates including PhD degree holders for interviews and he had conducted interviews of candidates on January 31 and February 3. After the interviews, the interior secretary had sent a summary containing three names — Usman Yousuf Mobeen, Khawar Siddique and Muhammad Ameer Malik — to the prime minister for getting a final approval.

On Thursday, the prime minister approved the name of Mobeen as the NADRA chairman after taking approval from the federal cabinet.

NADRA officials claimed that Mobeen has served well in his last tenure and set up mega NADRA centres in all big cities of the country which were working around the clock with over 100 one-window registration centres.

Meanwhile, the federal government has failed to appoint the Pakistan Electronic Media Regularity Authority chairman in the last two months despite the prime minister’s directives to advertise the position seeking applications.

After the Lahore High Court removed Absar Alam as PEMRA chairman in December 2017, no one is there to look after the affairs of the authority as the federal government has also failed to appoint two executive members of the regulator in the last two years.

The LHC had removed Alam after declaring his appointment in violation of merit and the Supreme Court judgments in this regard.

Sources denied media reports that the information ministry has forwarded a three-name summary for appointing the executive members of the regulator. On the other hand, they said that the information ministry has not yet given due consideration to the prime minister’s directives regarding appointing the new PEMRA chief.  The premier during a cabinet meeting had asked the information ministry to advertise the vacant post of the PEMRA head.

Absar Alam had elevated PEMRA Director General Sardar Irfan Ashraf to the post of the executive member after taking approval from authority members.  An official said that Alam’s act was illegal and in violation of PEMRA Act. He said that it is mentioned in the PEMRA laws that only the president can appoint an executive member. He said that rules were silent on the appointment of PEMRA’s acting charge.

The government could not appoint the executive members of the authority who have powers to look after the matters of the regulator in the absence of the chairman.  The president appoints an executive member of PEMRA on the recommendations of the prime minister for a period of four years. The federal government did not appoint the executive members in last three years on a request of Alam, the official claimed.

Earlier, a spokesperson for PEMRA had said that Sardar Irfan Ashraf had been posted as the executive member but added that soon a formal approval in this regard will be taken from the president. However, the authority has failed to get a formal approval so far.