ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday alleged that two senior politicians were ridiculing the country’s institutions and decried a ‘malicious’ social media campaign against the judiciary and the army.
He was speaking at a press conference at the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) headquarters where he announced the completion of a drive to re-verify over 100 million computerised national identity cards (CNICs).
On the issue of vilification of institutions on social media, the minister said a photograph of the prime minister, the president and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra was doing the rounds with a caption incorrectly referring to the KP governor as Mian Saqib Nisar, the chief justice-designate.
He claimed that this was a gimmick for political point-scoring and vowed to expose the elements behind the campaign.
He pointed out that the government did not play a role in appointing the Supreme Court chief justice as the most senior judge of the apex court assumed office on retirement of his or her predecessor.
Announces completion of CNIC re-verification drive
The minister said pointing the fingers at institutions was tantamount to playing with the country’s future and requested the opposition not to drag heads of institutions into their ‘shallow’ politics.
In response to a question regarding the Quetta inquiry commission, Chaudhry Nisar said the report had been put together by a quasi-judicial forum and that he had objected to it because it had been published without incorporating his views. He claimed that the five questions the commission had asked him had no relevance to the Quetta incident.
He said he would plead his case before the Supreme Court and disclosed that former attorney general Makhdoom Ali Khan would represent the ministry of interior before the apex court.
The minister said he had never been involved in personal attacks against anyone in the past, nor would he indulge in it in the future. However, he reserved the right to respond to the statements made against him, he added.
Answering a question about the Khanani and Kalia money laundering scam, he said a lot of record had been destroyed in 2008 and 2009. He said a committee to probe the matter would be constituted next week and another committee would be formed next week to investigate the Axact fake academic degree scam.The interior minister announced that as many as 86,380 foreigners had been identified in the drive to re-verify the CNICs. He said many of the foreigners identified in the drive had got themselves registered as members of the families they did not belong to.
He said 450,000 specious CNICs had been blocked in the last three-and-a-half years, and pointed out that only 519 such identity cards had been blocked during the Pakistan Peoples Party’s tenure. He said the government had also cancelled 32,400 passports issued to aliens.
Certain quarters had observed that this would be an impossible feat to achieve, the minister said. There were attempts to halt the drive, he said, but they had overcome the obstacles, some even from within Nadra.
Chaudhry Nisar stressed that the matter involved issues of national security, respect and dignity, and added that terrorists got a space to act when they obtained fake identity documents.
“When cancer spreads, the treatment hurts,” he remarked and conceded that some of the CNICs blocked during the exercise belonged to citizens of Pakistan. However, he said, some media reports had used highly exaggerated figures when referring to them.
He explained that a standard operating procedure (SOP) had been established to immediately restore CNICs blocked erroneously, at least temporarily.
He said an applicant requesting restoration of CNIC would have to provide revenue department records regarding properties in their name prior to 1978, attested domicile, proof of government service of their own or blood relatives, passport issued before 1978, attested academic degrees issued to them, father or grandfather prior to 1978 or any verifiable document issued by the government before 1978.
He said an 18-member parliamentary committee with representation from all political parties in the National Assembly was being formed to oversee the process.
He said criminals and their supporters at Nadra involved in selling citizenship to aliens were unacceptable. He regretted that aliens involved in terrorism brought a bad name to Pakistan when they were caught abroad using fake Pakistani IDs.
He said there were days when Pakistan’s official passports had been used for human trafficking and pointed out that a Pakistani passport had been issued to Mullah Akhtar Mansour in 2005.
The minister said that Pakistan was facing pressure for its wrongdoings in the past as the matter had been raised in the United Nations Security Council.
Published in Dawn December 31st, 2016