Cabinet to decide TLP fate at next meeting: Rashid

Published July 6, 2021
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the situation in Afghanistan would now not be similar to that in the 1990s as the opposition, government and armed forces were on the same page on the issue of Afghanistan. — DawnNewsTV/File
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the situation in Afghanistan would now not be similar to that in the 1990s as the opposition, government and armed forces were on the same page on the issue of Afghanistan. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The report of a committee formed to hear appeal of the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) will be placed before the cabinet at its next meeting for a final word.

This was disclosed by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed while speaking at a press conference here on Monday. He said the counsel for the TLP gave arguments before the panel, which would now submit its recommendations for consideration by the cabinet.

The federal government had on April 15 banned the TLP under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, days after violent protests following the arrest of TLP leader Saad Hussain Rizvi in Lahore. The protests had caused problems for the masses across the country and three people, including two policemen, lost their lives. Nearly 800 policemen were injured in clashes with the protesters.

Sheikh Rashid said it was now confirmed that Indian’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had orchestrated the Johar Town blast. He said the mastermind behind the Lahore tragedy had links with RAW. He eulogised security agencies for exposing the elements involved in the incident.

The minister said RAW and its subsidiaries were involved in sabotaging peace in Pakistan and trying to destabilise the country through various tactics.

Former Senate chairman and PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani also said India was a perpetual exporter of state terrorism while the world, in particular western capitals, looked the other way.

“The Lahore incident bearing a stamp of Indian terrorism is not surprising. RAW agents have, for long, been involved in terrorist activities in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan,” he said in a statement.

Mr Rabbani said the Financial Action Task Force and western capitals were now on test as to whether the FATF would take up the cases of Indian terrorism and place the country on its ‘blacklist’ or double standards would prevail.

“Should FATF fail to take action against India, it will be exposed as yet another institution in the hands of the imperialists to exert pressure on states to follow priorities of their national security,” he remarked.

The PPP leader said India had been pursuing a policy of internal state terrorism by suppressing through forces more than 22 nationalist movements in India. “The dream of western imperialists and India, of becoming a hegemonistic policeman of the region, will not be fulfilled,” he said.

Sheikh Rashid said the situation in Afghanistan would now not be similar to that in the 1990s as the opposition, government and armed forces were on the same page on the issue of Afghanistan. He said three to four million Afghan refugees were currently living in Pakistan.

The minister also disclosed that a racket within the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) relating to issuance of computerised national identity cards to aliens had been unearthed. As many as 19 employees involved in the racket had been suspended, he said, adding that he had asked the newly appointed Nadra chairman to purge the authority of the corrupt.

Hours after the minister’s press conference, Nadra announced suspension of 39 employees.

Sheikh Rashid said Islamabad desired peace in Afghanistan as it was interlinked with peace in Pakistan. He said his ministry along with the armed forces and other state institutions was keeping an eye on the situation in Afghanistan following withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn country.

“We are doing this on the advice of Ministry of Foreign Affairs because border management is job of the Ministry of Interior,” he said, hoping that the situation in Afghanistan would not be a repeat of the past.

The minister said Pakistan would complete its border fencing with Afghanistan in one-and-a-half months while that with Iran would be completed in a year.

“Enforcement agencies, including Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Frontier Constabulary, are on duty at entry points of Chaman and Torkham borders,” he said, adding that the FIA would introduce electronic entry system at both crossings by July 30.

Sheikh Rashid said Pakistan had a policy on Afghan refugees and would unveil and implement it in case of any bad situation in Afghanistan. He said the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan desired that Taliban and all other stakeholders, including President Ashraf Ghani, former president Hamid Karzai, and Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, sat together either in Afghanistan or Doha to settle their issues. “Any of their decision about resolution of their issues would be acceptable to Pakistan,” he said.

He said his ministry had requested the finance ministry to give finances for at least 509 jobs in the FIA to ensure that necessary personnel can be deployed at the border crossings with Afghanistan and prepare them accordingly keeping in view the present situation in the region.

The interior minister said Prime Minister Khan would visit Uzbekistan this month to enhance bilateral trade and economic ties. During his visit, the interior ministry would sign two accords, including visa on arrival for five to seven days and provision of free visa on diplomatic passport, he said, adding that flight operations between Lahore and Tashkent had also been restored.

Sheikh Rashid said as many as 1.2 million candidates had applied against 1,143 positions lying vacant in the FIA. The written test would start from July 26 across the country, he added.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2021

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