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Missing necklace stumps sleuths

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Nisar Ali Khan has ordered the FIA to investigate the disappearance of a precious necklace donated by Emine Erdogan.—INP/File
Nisar Ali Khan has ordered the FIA to investigate the disappearance of a precious necklace donated by Emine Erdogan.—INP/File

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate the disappearance of a precious necklace donated for flood-stricken people by Emine Erdogan, the wife of the then Turkish prime minister, in 2010.

He told reporters on Wednesday that the necklace had gone missing from the warehouse of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

Ms Erdogan had personally donated 10,000 Turkish liras and some pieces of jewellery, including the necklace given to her by her husband at the time of their wedding. She had given the necklace to Fauzia Gilani, wife of the then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, asking her to give it to a flood-affected girl for her dowry.

The Turkish people bought the necklace in an auction and gave it back to Ms Erdogan. But she again donated it to flood victims, when she, accompanied by her husband and Mr Gilani, arrived in a camp of flood-affected people near Dadu in Sindh where they found that eight girls were to get married.

According to sources, the necklace was purchased by the then chairman of Nadra, Ali Arshad Hakeem, for Rs1.6 million and the amount was distributed among the girls.

Source told Dawn that the necklace had been given by Mr Ali to Mr Gilani and had remained on display in a showcase in the Prime Minister’s House as a symbol of Pak-Turk friendship.

“Probably the necklace is still there and it must be checked before an investigation is launched,” they said.

The interior minister said an investigation had been initiated into the reports of leakage of Nadra data and its transfer to some foreign countries through international NGOs.

In reply to a question about a scam about issuance of computerised national identity cards (CNICs) to aliens, he said over 25,000 such cards had been cancelled and intelligence agencies had been given the task to investigate reports about issuance of more than 75,000 CNICs to foreign nationals.

Around 500 employees of Nadra were suspected to be involved in the scam, Chaudhry Nisar said, adding that action would be taken against them after investigations were completed. He said leniency would be shown to those employees who volunteered to cooperate in the investigation.

The minister claimed that some of the Nadra employees assigned to verify thumbprints of voters from counterfoils of ballot papers had deliberately issued incorrect reports. In one such case, he said, the initial report on a constituency mentioned 3,000 unverifiable votes, but after scrutiny all the votes were found to be valid.

He alleged that it had been done by some employees under a conspiracy to tarnish the reputation of an honest director general who was in charge of the project.

The minister claimed that some employees who were “part of the lobby” of former Nadra chairman Tariq Malik, were still hatching conspiracies.

He claimed that the audit of Nadra’s accounts for the PPP government’s period had exposed irregularities which would soon be made public and action would be taken against the officials responsible for causing losses to the authority.

Chaudhry Nisar said foreigners were banned from visiting Nadra offices unless they obtained permission from the interior ministry. “Even an ambassador cannot visit a Nadra office nor an employee of the authority can meet any foreigner without permission from the ministry.” The step had been taken in view of sensitivity of the data, he said.

In reply to a question about the fake degree scam involving Axact, he said some fresh evidence had been received from abroad, but divulged no details.

The minister had recently told a press conference that a decision had been taken to seek help of CIA and Interpol for a thorough probe into the scam.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2015

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