Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Sunday denied the abduction of the daughter of Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad, saying it was an "international racket" led by Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to defame Pakistan.
Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil’s daughter, Silsila Alikhil, was allegedly kidnapped on Friday from the federal capital’s commercial hub by unidentified persons, who also subjected her to torture.
She was returning home in the afternoon in a taxi after visiting a bakery in Islamabad's Blue Area when the driver picked up another man, who verbally abused and assaulted her. She was later dropped in an unconscious condition by the taxi driver on a roadside.
Speaking on Geo News programme Naya Pakistan, Rashid said the investigation carried out so far had not shown that the woman was abducted.
"There has been no kidnapping," he said. "I want to tell the entire nation, this is an international racket, an international conspiracy, this is the agenda of RAW," he added, saying the Indian intelligence agency had propagated the impression of her abduction across the world.
Rashid said the woman hired a taxi at Khadda Market, “then she heads to Daman-i-Koh in a second cab, and subsequently hires a third taxi from F-9 park, but she is refusing to accept that she visited Rawalpindi”.
He added that Silsila also used internet after reaching Daman-i-Koh.
“There is just one patch left in our investigation. We have found three taxis involved in the incident. The woman reached Daman-i-Koh from Rawalpindi but skipped stopping midway at her residence. We are just trying to find another footage of her movement from Rawalpindi,” he added.
The minister said this was the first incident of its kind in Pakistan. “Everything will be clear the moment we discover the fourth footage,” he added.
Rashid said the ambassador's daughter gave her mobile phone to authorities after erasing all records, but the government was extending all-out cooperation to her. “But some people are doing propaganda on directions of Indian agency RAW,” he added.
Taxi drivers questioned
Earlier in the day, Rashid said that the taxi drivers who drove the daughter of the Afghan ambassador before her alleged brief abduction have been interrogated and a first information report has been registered.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the interior minister said: "I want to inform the international media that the police is investigating the report of the Afghan ambassador's daughter issue ... and we have registered a case on her request under [sections] 34 (common intent), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the PPC (Pakistan Penal Code)."
He said the interviews of the trio of taxi drivers whose cars the ambassador's daughter had sat in have been recorded. Rashid said the first driver had driven the envoy's daughter to Khadda Market, a second had then driven her to Rawalpindi, and a third had driven her from Daman-i-Koh.
The interior minister said that footage of her trip from Rawalpindi to Daman-i-Koh was missing and the matter was under investigation. He said the "riddle" would be solved by the evening and all aspects of the case would be unearthed.
Rashid said the Afghan embassy was also in touch and cooperating in the investigation, which he said would be completed "maybe tomorrow or the day after ".
He said the Islamabad police, investigation agencies and the Foreign Office were working on the case, adding that it was their "top priority" as per the prime minister's directives to solve the case and arrest the culprits as soon as possible.
'China only asked for similarity of stance'
Regarding the investigation in the Dasu bus tragedy, which on Wednesday took the lives of 13 people, including nine Chinese, Rashid said the Ministry of Interior was hosting the 15 Chinese officials, who visited Dasu yesterday (July 17) and were added to the joint investigation team.
"They (the Chinese) just said one thing that our stance and yours should be the same because Pakistan and China's friendship is inexhaustible and taller than the Himalayas," the interior minister said.
He also said that despite contrary reports, work at the Dasu hydropower project was continuing, will continue and no hindrances will be allowed in the way of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.
"The Chinese government fully thinks that we are fulfilling our responsibility more than our capability and has thanked us for [work by] Pakistan's agencies, investigation and hospitality of the interior ministry."