ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday reserved its verdict in a petition of Chairman National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) Tariq Malik who had challenged the notification of his dismissal issued by federal government on December 2.

After conducting nine-hour long proceedings and hearing the arguments of all the sides, Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi reserved his decision on the petition of Tariq Malik.

During the hearing, the counsel representing the federation of Pakistan, Akram Sheikh, maintained before the court that the former government had appointed Malik as chairman NADRA by neglecting rules and procedure.

He informed the court that the initial appointment of Malik that was GM Networks was made the same day when he had applied for the job. Moreover Tariq Malik went on 117 foreign visits without the approval of the competent authority.

The counsel for federation added that Tariq Malik was getting Rs2.1 million monthly salary that is higher than the salary of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention here that the termination of Tariq Malik gained high importance after his dismissal and there were speculations that he was dismissed due to voters' verification through thumb impression and this was also told to the press by his counsel Babar Sattar at first day of the hearing.

Earlier, a single bench of IHC had suspended the termination orders of Tariq Malik and restored him to his position. The court had also suspended the appointment notification of director general NADRA Brigadier (R) Zahid Hussain who had been given the acting charge of chairman NADRA by the federal government.

On Friday, Justice Qureshi directed the federal government to produce the summary regarding the appointment of acting chairman of NADRA.

The counsel for Tariq Malik told the court that Brigadier (R) Zahid Hussain was in Karachi when he was appointed and he assumed the charge there.

Shoaib Shaheen advocate representing Brig Hussain told the court that Tariq Malik was appointed as Chairman NADRA due to his association with the former PPP government.

He said that he was appointed and later on promoted in an unprecedented manner. During the elections 2008, Malik was appointed as information technology advisor, member of the central election monitoring cell that was headed by Sardar Latif Khosa at that time.

Shoaib continued that once the PPP formed its government at the centre, it was on May 23, 2008 when Tariq Malik was first appointed as general manager networks, NADRA headquarters Islamabad. Then the PPP government created an additional vacancy of member NADRA and Malik was appointed against the vacancy on August 08, 2008.

 Spending 10 days at this position Malik was once again promoted and was made deputy chairman on August 18, 2008.

Brig Hussain's counsel argued before the court that there was no position/post of deputy chairman existed in NADRA and it was specifically created to facilitate Tariq Malik. Brig Hussain further told the court that all this happened in a span of three months from the date of Tariq Malik's joining. Whereas his probation period was six months and he was still working as an unconfirmed employee.

Advocate Shaheen also told the court the appointment of Tariq Malik in NADRA has been made without any advertisement and with special salary packages.

Tariq Malik's Babar Sattar advocate counter argued that the appointment of his client was made in accordance with the NADRA ordinance. He added that the Ordinance does not lay down any procedural requirements for the appointment of a chairman, however, Section 3(7) requires that the chairman is to be "an eminent professional of known integrity and competence with substantial experience in the field of computer science, engineering, statistics, demography, law, business management, finance, accounting, economics, civil or military administration or the field of registration."

Babar Sattar told the court his client fulfills all criterion regarding professional competence that is evident from his resume as his professional excellence is duly recognized by many institutions and there were also awards bestowed upon him.

Babar Sattar told the court that the summary of his client's appointment clearly reveals that the exercise of authority in appointing the petitioner as chairman was considered and reasoned exercise of authority and discretion.

He informed that in consideration of the qualifications and achievements of the petitioner, the Ministry of Interior moved a summary to the Prime Minister detailing the petitioner's educational background and hands-on experience with smart cards and involvement with other continuing complex projects of national importance.

He added the summary also highlighted the dire need for continuity of senior management hence the petitioner's appointment as chairman NADRA was proposed and approval of the Prime Minister was solicited.

After hearing the arguments, Justice Noor-ul-Haq reserved the verdict and the court would announce detailed judgment in this matter in a few days time.