ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has rejected rumours about an in-house conspiracy in the army and said there is no room for success of such a plot within the disciplined and professional force.
Talking to reporters on Monday after inaugurating an online application system introduced by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), he said it was not possible for a few officers to replace the army chief. “The army has neither been a victim of an in-house conspiracy in the past nor could it happen in the days to come,” he added.
Chaudhry Nisar dismissed as “ridiculous and baseless” the rumours suggesting that a plot had been hatched up by some army officers to replace Army Chief General Raheel Sharif during the days of PTI’s sit-in in Islamabad last year.
A PTI man, retired Brig Simon Sharaf, said in a talk-show that the party had been in contacts with the ISI during the sit-in and claimed that then ISI director general Lt Gen Zeheerul Islam, along with a few others, was supporting the protest, anticipating an action against the army chief by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif out of nervousness.
Plot to eliminate a high-profile official foiled
According to him, a telephonic conversation between Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam and some PTI men was played during a meeting between the prime minister and the army chief, after which Lt Gen Islam was summoned and asked by the army chief if he had asked him to do so. Lt Gen Islam replied in the negative and that was the end of the story the army chief wanted to send the Sharif government packing.
Chaudhry Nisar said the army chief enjoyed complete confidence of the government, army and people, adding that such kite-flying at the expense of the army was not appropriate.
“Instead of churning out such rumours, we should stand united with the army. We are in a state of war and our enemy is not visible,” he said, adding that such rumours against the army were against national interest and served the interests of enemies.
He said the Pakistan Army was the best fighting force in the world. Without naming the United States, he said there were armies of large countries which had to meet the fate of failure in guerrilla warfare, but the Pakistan Army was perhaps the only exception as it made remarkable achievement in guerrilla warfare.
Answering a question, the interior minister said he had been closely interacting with the army and intelligence agencies because his ministry was responsible for internal security and paramilitary forces were under it. He said the country was facing insurgency and problems of economy and security which needed focus and attention.
In reply to a question about Sunday’s security breach of the prime minister’s convoy, he said Mr Sharif’s car had not been attacked. The prime minister was coming from Murree in a low profile and when his motorcade crossed a toll plaza near Satra Meel another car coming from another exit point of the toll tried to overtake it without knowing that it was the prime minister’s motorcade. He said the person held after the incident was freed on late Sunday night.
About the ongoing operation in Islamabad’s slum areas, he said roots of many criminal activities had been found to be linked with these areas. He claimed that three terrorists planning an attack on a high-profile government official had been arrested in Islamabad. He refused to divulge the name of the official but said that there were five terrorists and three of them had been arrested.
He also referred to an incident involving the kidnapping of an eight-year-old boy for ransom and said there should be an inquiry against corrupt officials of the Capital Development Authority who let these slum areas grow.
Chaudhry Nisar praised Nadra for developing the online application system to address the issue of long queues of applicants. He said he also wanted a similar system for passports, but the directorate general of passports said that about six months were required to come up with such a system.
He said Nadra would be providing some important services in six months, including the establishment of 13 next generation business centres providing multiple services. Nadra will also establish a DNA laboratory to facilitate law-enforcement agencies.
The minister said a large number of national identity cards had been issued to aliens by some individuals in Nadra and made it clear that there would be no tolerance for corruption in the organisation. The accountability system in the authority will be strengthened and those with outstanding performance will be rewarded.
He disclosed that an assistant director of Nadra in Karachi had issued 389 CNICs to Afghan nationals and offered Rs10 million as bribe to his director to hush up the matter. He might have made billions if he was offering such a big amount to just one individual, the minister added.
Chaudhry Nisar said that only 26 bogus identity cards had been traced in 2011 and 493 in 2012, but the number rose to 6,000 in 2013, 20,000 in 2014 and 640,000 this year.
He said a committee comprising officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau had been formed to trace such cards so that these could be immediately blocked.
Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2015