ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan made it clear on Friday that citizenship of suspected terrorists included in the fourth schedule of the antiterrorism law could not be taken away.
“All those enlisted in the Fourth Schedule [of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997] are Pakistani nationals. How can they be denied their right to identification — CNIC?” he asked, according to a statement released by the ministry. The interior minister directed the departments concerned to reverse any such action in case it is found to have been taken.
He was talking to a delegation of the Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) led by Maulana Samiul Haq which called on him here and took up the issue with him.
The meeting took place a day after a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker indirectly accused Maulana Samiul Haq of planning to send students of his seminary to help the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in Islamabad’s lockdown, in return for the grant received from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.
Media reports suggest that the computerised national identity cards of over 2,000 fourth schedulers have been cancelled, but the interior ministry has neither confirmed nor denied the reports so far. Many wonder as to why the interior minister, with a reputation of taking swift notice and action over any thing which goes wrong in his ministry and its subordinate departments, did not take action against those responsible for taking such a big decision on their own.
The security situation of the country also came under discussion during the meeting. Members of the delegation assured the interior minister that they would always be in the forefront on any issue that related to Islam and Pakistan.
They said that the DPC appreciated the efforts aimed at improving the security situation in the country. They said that some elements were trying to target religious forces, adding that the government should take notice of such incidents.
The interior minister described religion as “the strength, honour and pride of Pakistan”, adding that no power could separate religion from the country. He said that Pakistan had been created on the basis of Islamic ideology and would continue to adhere to this ideology.
The minister briefed the delegation on plans to update and digitise the list of fourth schedulers and said that all the provinces would be asked to review these lists.
The interior minister said religious forces had played a pivotal role in the improvement of the security situation across Pakistan. He added that religious scholars and leaders would not be allowed to be targeted.
He asserted that reservations and issues raised by the religious leaders would be addressed in consultation with the provincial governments.
Other members of the DPC delegation included Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat chief Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi and Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan leader Anas Noorani.
Published in Dawn October 22nd, 2016