ISLAMABAD, July 20: Former federal tourism minister Nilofar Bakhtiar said on Sunday she had received threats of “dire consequences” if she failed “to immediately leave the country along with her family” and sought protection for herself and her family.

Addressing a press conference, Ms Bakhtiar said she would never leave the country and it was the responsibility of the government to provide fool-proof security.

Last year, the Lal Masjid management, which also ran the Jamia Hasfa seminary, had issued a Fatwa against the former minister after she was pictured hugging one of her instructors following a charity paragliding in France.

At that time, the Lal Masjid’s in-charge, Maulana Abdul Aziz had urged the government to sack her for having posed for the photograph which he had termed ‘obscene’.

Threatening calls were also received by the administration of the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club where the press conference was to be held. The callers said the club would be attacked if Ms Bakhtiar was allowed to address journalists.

The club administration informed security agencies and a bomb disposal squad scanned the press club building. The press conference was held after security officials cleared the venue but they advised the former minister to “leave the place as soon as possible”.

She said some newspapers had reported that Umm-i-Hassan had issued similar threats. But after the press conference, she said that Umm-i-Hassan had clarified that she was not behind the threats.

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