ISLAMABAD - At a time when the federal government is likely to appoint a permanent head of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), it will generate another controversy after the protesting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the government have agreed to resume the stalled talks, The Nation has learnt.

Well-placed sources in the federal government and the Ministry of Interior informed that a panel of the government was interviewing candidates for the slot of permanent Chairman Nadra in the present week. The federal government is busy finalizing the name of permanent chairman Nadra after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week had asked the Ministry of Interior to complete the recruitment process for the slot as soon as possible.

However, a senior bureaucrat of the federal government closely looking into this recruitment process Thursday told this reporter that it was being feared within the government circles that the appointment of permanent head of Nadra would create a new controversy as PTI might object to this appointment. He also said that the recruitment process was being completed as part of the government's policy to fill vacant posts of heads of all federal government institutions within weeks.

The PTI during his previous talks with the government, that had faced deadlock, had demanded that the persons with high integrity should be appointed as heads of Nadra and FIA as both these departments would be involved in the investigation of rigging process. PTI had also demanded that the heads of Nadra and FIA should be appointed with mutual consultations. In the previous talks, both the sides had agreed for the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising FIA, ISI, IB and MI representatives under the supervision of Judicial Commission. Nadra is involved in the verification process of thumb impression of votes cast during 2013 general elections. PTI has demanded time and again that Nadra chairman should be a person of impeccable character as the authority was involved in the votes verification process. According to Nadra sources, some senior officers of the authority have also been issued interview letters for the slot of chairmanship and among them, Col (retd) Talha Mahmood, Director General (DG) Registration Nadra, and Usman Mubeen, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Nadra, the other day, have already appeared before the interview panel.

The sources added that Brigadier (retd) Zahid, DG Nadra Karachi, and Dr Tahir, DG (Finance & Accounts) Nadra, have also been issued interview letters.

The post of the chairman Nadra is lying vacant since January 2014 after its former chief Tariq Malik had resigned apparently because of his differences with the powerful Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.