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November 12, 2019
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Chaudhry Nisar offers talks over NADRA chief, magnetic ink issues

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar has proposed a joint session of the parliament over the issues including verification of thumb impressions and sacking of National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) Chairman.

Nisar, in a letter he dispatched to the parliamentary leaders, said that they should bring solution to both the issues jointly to end the debate.

“I am taking this opportunity to ask you to give your considered opinion for the future course in this regard in a manner which is not prejudicial to the sanctity of the entire electoral process or the democratic institutions which appears to be the sole purpose behind this entire debate.”

“I am more than willing to organise a meeting of all the parliamentary leaders of political parties represented in the National Assembly, for reaching a consensus in this behalf.”

In his letter, the minister said the issue of verification of thumb impressions on ballot papers has been at the center of media scrutiny as well as public debates, judicial hearings and even parliament, with critics linking the removal of the Nadra chairman with the issue.

Nisar said it was perhaps not possible as “magnetic ink for thumb impressions was not used in the 2013 general elections.”

The minister justified the government’s decision of removing the Nadra chairman through six reasons cited in the letter, in which he raised questions about why magnetic ink was not used during the elections.

“In case the relevant authorities failed to procure the magnetic ink in time, what action was initiated by the previous government or the election commission which was overseeing the entire process?” the letter reads.

The minister said that linking changes in NADRA with the issue of thumb impressions in general elections is not correct. “NADRA is not a “One-man authority”…there are a number of competent, honest and determined people in the institution.”

The government is ready to have verification of votes on all constituencies from any institution, he added.