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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Serving Lt Gen Appointed as NADRA Chief

Lt Gen Munir Afsar's appointment as NADRA chief reveals a growing trend of military personnel placements by the government

The federal cabinet has officially sanctioned the appointment of Lt Gen Muhammad Munir Afsar as the chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for a three-year term. This decision, initially made by the caretaker government, has been formally endorsed.

Lt Gen Afsar’s credentials underscore a blend of academic excellence and extensive military experience. Holding an MPhil in Public Policy and National Security Management, coupled with an MS in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing, he brings a robust understanding of critical domains relevant to NADRA’s operations. His previous roles, including Inspector General Communication & Information Technology (IG C&IT), further highlight his expertise in IT-related technical development and management within the Pakistan Army.

The approval of Lt Gen Afsar’s appointment also signifies a pivotal amendment to the NADRA Rules 2020. The federal cabinet has ratified the inclusion of Rule 7A, which allows for the appointment of serving officers in the national interest, provided they hold a rank not lower than Grade 21. This strategic amendment broadens the pool of potential candidates for NADRA’s top leadership positions, aligning with evolving organizational needs.

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NADRA faces pressing challenges regarding data security. A recent report submitted by a joint investigation team (JIT) to the interior ministry revealed alarming breaches in NADRA’s data integrity. The report alleges the theft and sale of data belonging to 2.7 million citizens between 2019 and 2023, highlighting the urgency of fortifying NADRA’s cybersecurity infrastructure.

The JIT’s inquiry into past data leak incidents, notably during the tenures of former chairmen Usman Mobin and Tariq Malik, underscores the persistent vulnerabilities in NADRA’s data management systems. These incidents, including a machine attack incident in Multan, underscore the imperative for proactive measures to safeguard sensitive citizen information.