ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister retired Brig Ijaz Ahmad Shah on Wednesday candidly conceded that Pakistan had become a security state instead of a welfare state.
During a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior, the minister agreed to brief the panel in-camera about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent remarks about ‘use of Pakistan soil against Iran’.
Former interior minister Rehman Malik presided over the meeting.
Retired Brig Shah also promised to brief the committee on the veracity of militant Islamic State group’s accepting responsibility for the recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.
Talking about Iran, India and Afghanistan, the interior minister said: “These three countries should be dealt with very seriously.” He said he had served in Balochistan for 10 years and had a lot of information about the law and order situation of that province. He, however, said it would be inappropriate to publicly share the information, though it would not be earth-shaking.
He said Pakistan had been in a war-like situation for several years.
The minister regretted that instead of being transformed into a welfare state, Pakistan had become a security state. On an occasion, he also remarked that one could not change neighbours.
The issue of the prime minister’s remarks about Iran had been raised by Senator Javed Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, who said that such allegations had been levelled against Pakistan in the past as well, but it was something very serious that a person holding a responsible office was making such remarks.
Mr Abbasi sought a briefing over the PM’s remarks.
Rana Maqbool of the same party referred to the terrorist incident in Sri Lanka and wondered if the militant Islamic State group’s claim was authentic.
Rehman Malik asked the government to take a clear position on the issue whether the militant Islamic State group had a presence in Pakistan or not. He said he had been warning about what he called a ‘South Asian Spring’ since the eruption of Arab Spring and particularly after the terrorist attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.
The committee took a strong notice of the reports of construction of a firing range in the diplomatic enclave by the US embassy.
Mr Malik wanted to know if a no-objection certificate had been obtained by the US embassy.
Sources, however, told Dawn that a memorandum of understanding to upgrade the firing range which existed in the diplomatic enclave for several years had been signed with the interior ministry in July 2018, when the caretaker government was in power.
A source said that a document to this effect existed in the interior ministry. When contacted, US Embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said the embassy had nothing to hide and that was why it had posted the advertisement on its website for possibility of upgrade with Pakistani contractors. He said this was a firing range for Pakistani police and not for the embassy.
Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2019