ISLAMABAD - In reply to the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan's tirade of charges against Chairman National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Tariq Malik, the Authority's top boss has written a letter to the Secretary Interior terming the charges unverified and false.

Earlier, the govt had terminated the services of Chairman NADRA Tariq Malik and his subsequent reinstatement by Islamabad High Court has stirred the debate around the issue. In a press conference held last Sunday, the interior minister had leveled serious charges about the appointment of Tariq Malik, his salary being drawn from NADRA and his qualification.

According to the letter number NADRA/CS/39, dated December 16 and addressed to Secretary Interior Shahid Khan, a copy of which is available with The Nation, Tariq Malik has responded to the charges about his educational qualification stating that he held Masters Degree from Quaid-e-Azam University in Computer Sciences. "This was followed by a Masters Degree in International Management from Heidelberg, Germany, for which equivalence certificate was obtained from the then University Grants Commission (now HEC)," says the reply.

About his foreign visits, the Chairman NADRA states, "It has been alleged that he undertook 174 trips abroad, which comes to an average of three trips per month during the last five years. This is incorrect and grossly exaggerated. The fact is that my foreign trips were authorized by the competent authority, which is Prime Minister of Pakistan for all official visits as Chairman NADRA". He said that these were eight visits in total. Trips undertaken as Deputy Chairman were authorized by then Chairman NADRA being the competent authority in this regard. These were around 40 trips. Important to note is that all these visits were undertaken to promote international business of NADRA and resultant revenue growth amply justified this expenditure, he said in the letter adding that the most recent example was the award of Sri Lankan Government's ID Card Project (Phase-I) worth $5.6 million.

On the salary row, Tariq Malik stated that as per NADRA Ordinance 2002 he was drawing the salary of Rs. 8,42,000 which was as per pay package approved by the federal government to protect his salary as NADRA employee. Thus during last 17 months his average take-home pay transferred to his bank account was Rs 7,32,000 per month. This included all emoluments including T/A adjustments, medical reimbursements etc. The minister had alleged that NADRA chief had been drawing monthly salary of up to Rs 2.1 million.

On the allegation of possessing Canadian and three Pakistani passports, he stated blue Pakistani passport was issued in lieu of ordinary Pakistani passport. Rest of passports were expired or cancelled. It is not possible in the passport system that a person has three valid passports. When a new passport is issued, the previous one either expired or treated cancelled.

"I trust that through the aforementioned clarifications, all apprehensions regarding my conduct will be allayed and the matter will be allowed to be settled in the Court in a transparent manner as assured by the minister for interior.”

My conscience is absolutely clear and if at any stage, the government feels that I have violated any rules or my statutory mandate, I am willing to submit myself for scrutiny and disciplinary process prescribed under the law," reads the letter.