ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday questioned the release of what he termed a ‘one-sided’ inquiry commission report on the Aug 8 terrorist attacks in Quetta and vowed to confront its contents at all forums, including parliament and the Supreme Court.

He said at a press conference that he had come to know about the report through the media and was at a loss to understand as to why it had been issued without bringing forth the view of the government.

He regretted that the report contained personal allegations against him and he had been accused of making misstatements. “I do not tell lies and cannot even think about it.”

Minister says commission’s queries had no relevance to Quetta attacks

He said the Supreme Court was a place from where people got justice and where an accused was given the opportunity to explain his position and was not called a culprit unless it was proved by evidence. Chaudhry Nisar said he, the interior ministry and the government were being bashed on the basis of the report by ‘politically sick’ people.

Without naming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif or any other government functionary, the minister said he had been asked not to address a press conference on the matter, but he had made it clear that he would do so even after resigning from his position if the government thought his response would embarrass it.

Chaudhry Nisar said he would present the other side of the picture before the Supreme Court, parliament and people. Describing the responsibility of internal security as highly sensitive, he said civil-military coordination and cooperation and political consensus were essential for it.

He said he had placed the progress report on the National Action Plan (NAP) before parliament five times and was ready to do it again.

The minister said the mandate of the inquiry commission was about two terrorist incidents that took place in Quetta in a day, but a ‘strange’ questionnaire sent by it to him contained five questions having no relevance with these incidents.

He said the first question was why he had met a delegation of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) and his reply was that he had not met such a delegation. He said the head of the Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC), Maulana Samiul Haq, had sought time for a meeting along with a delegation on the issue of blocked computerised national identity cards. He said he was not aware that Maulana Ahmad Ludhi­anvi, chief of the ASWJ, was part of the delegation of the amalgam of political and religious parties formed in 2009.

He wondered as to why no one, including the Election Commission of Pakistan, took notice when Maulana Ludhianvi contested the 2013 general elections from Jhang which he lost to PML-N candidate Sheikh Akram. He pointed out that an election tribunal had de-seated Sheikh Akram and declared Maulana Ludhianvi as successful. He said a stay had been given to Sheikh Akram by the Supreme Court, but the main petition was still pending.

Chaudhry Nisar said the second question by the commission was why the ASWJ had been allowed to hold a public meeting in Islamabad, and his answer was that permissions for public meetings were given by the district administration and no such application had been received or approved by it. He said an application was received from the Shuhada Foundation and the permission was granted as had been done for the past six years.

The third question was why the executive committee of the National Counterterrorism Authority (Nacta) had never met and the answer was that it had met on Dec 31, 2014, he said. The fourth question was why Nacta’s board of governors had never met and the response was that the matter was related to the office of the prime minister, he said.

The minister said the final question of the commission was as to why a special secretary had been appointed in his ministry. He said he had explained that appointment of special secretaries was not something new and it was done in the ministries with heavy workload. He said the appointment was in accordance with the law.

He said Nacta had been operating from a rented building whose rent for six months was due when he took over. Now the things were different and Nacta had so far shared 7,774 intelligence excerpts with the authorities concerned and over 20,000 intelligence-based operations had been carried out.

The minister said it was his mission to strengthen the security framework, while about 9,000 terrorist incidents had taken place during the PPP’s rule.

Answering a question, he said the inquiries pending with the Federal Investigation Agency were being actively pursued and 90 per cent of the cases had been sent to the courts. “This is the reason a party feels disturbed,” he remarked.

Criticising PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the minister said he needed to be informed that the Panama Papers also contained his mother’s name. He also mentioned assets allegedly owned by former president Asif Zardari in other countries.

REACTIONS: Responding to the press conference, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the minister should have resigned after such a stinging indictment by the Supreme Court’s inquiry commission but he had chosen to whitewash himself through a monologue on the media and a rant against the opposition.

Senator Babar said that if the late Benazir Bhutto could be embroiled in the Panama Papers case, it was all the more reason for the minister to immediately get passed from the National Assembly the opposition’s bill approved by the Senate and haul up all those guilty of corruption and wrongdoing.

What about the individuals listed in the Fourth Schedule and the proscribed entities that had banded together to carry on their activities under the so-called non-proscribed council? he asked.

“As the whole edifice of counterterrorism effort has come down crumbling under the interior minister, the PPP expects him to resign. In case he is unwilling he must be shown the door,” he said.

A spokesman for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf also said Chaudhry Nisar should immediately resign. He said in a statement that a judge of the apex court in his report had declared the minister responsible for negligence and incompetence. He said the charge-sheet against the minister was in fact against the PML-N government.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2016



UAE targeted
Updated 19 Jan, 2022

UAE targeted

MONDAY’S deadly drone strikes by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting the UAE, and subsequent retaliatory attacks on...
19 Jan, 2022

New province debate

THE private bill introduced by a PML-N senator seeking a new province in south Punjab amounts to oversimplification...
19 Jan, 2022

Omicron in Karachi

WITH the wedding season in full swing, it is no surprise that the Covid positivity rate in Karachi has been touching...
The establishment pivot
18 Jan, 2022

The establishment pivot

It is a sad reality that the power matrix continues to revolve around the establishment.
18 Jan, 2022

Remittances growth

THE hefty growth in remittances from Pakistanis living abroad continues to defy forecasts to the contrary. New State...
18 Jan, 2022

China-Iran deal

THE China-Iran strategic deal that has recently taken effect is more than just a long-term bilateral agreement...