Nisar urges media to abstain from Axact scandal 'hype'

Published May 20, 2015
Federal Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali talking to reporters in Islamabad.- DawnNews screengrab
Federal Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali talking to reporters in Islamabad.- DawnNews screengrab

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali on Wednesday requested the media refrain from arriving at conclusions on the Axact fake degrees scam, saying he had ordered an inquiry into the allegations and the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) had begun scrutiny on Tuesday.

Stressing that the sensitive investigation will take time, the minister said it was not possible to assert that a crime had been committed just hours after the investigation had commenced.

Dispelling several misconceptions reported by media outlets on Tuesday, Nisar said the seven-member investigating team had not been changed.

"No committee has been changed, as reported in media, nor has the case been transferred from FIA's cyber wing. I also read a news report saying that names had been placed on the exit-control list (ECL), which is not true."

Nisar went on to say that no Axact official was arrested as had been portrayed yesterday, adding that some high-level company directors had been called in for questioning.

"This is not a murder case we're investigating. No one has been killed or hurt."

"We have seized 42 company servers, and experts suggest it could take a month to conduct forensic auditing," said the interior minister. Nisar said foreign technicians may be sought from abroad if needed.

He said Axact offices in Rawalpindi and Karachi had been sealed, adding that investigators believe it would be beneficial to conduct forensic auditing and investigations inside the company offices.

Responding to a New York Times editorial that says it is "hard to believe" the government was unaware of Axact's activities, the minister said he had ordered the investigation after the Times article, but requested the American publication show patience and wait for the inquiry in Pakistan to conclude.

"It is not unusual for governments to take action on media reports, which is what we have done," said Nisar.

Nisar said the Federal Board of Revenue and the Securities & Exchanges Commission of Pakistan had also been asked to provide all relevant information on the company to the investigating team. He vowed to ensure transparency in the probe and said the scrutiny will be concluded as soon as possible.

Nisar also lauded the Sindh Police on hunting down the Safoora Goth attackers, who he said were also involved in numerous other heinous crimes in the city.

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