WEB DESK: Winding up the National Assembly debate on the performance of his ministry, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan publicly acknowledged the widely held view that the country is in a bad situation because of the past policies of its military and political elites. In fact, the military leadership is also said to have recognised the same at an All-Party Conference that preceded the launch of the Zarb-e-Azb.
Said the Interior Minister, “we are all responsible for creating this mess in the country, where it is easy to commit bad deeds and people find it difficult to do good things.” Enumerating some of the ‘bad deeds’, he cited examples only from the last two governments, the first headed by former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf and the second by the PPP, to criticise the former for his acts of omission and commission and the latter for use of illegal means for money transfers both to and from the country. But going forward, there was not much in his speech to show things are changing for the better.
In fact, bad things are still happening. Influential individuals accused of grave crimes may have faced some legal difficulties but are still being protected by the system’s powerful players. The minister claimed credit for last month’s arrest of the well-known money changer Altaf Khanani – suspected of channelling funds to terrorist organisations – for involvement in money laundering only to lament that weak prosecution led to him going scot-free. But then there is also the infamous case of the model Ayyan Ali who was caught red-handed last March by an Airport Security Force official while trying to smuggle over half a million dollars to Dubai.
It later transpired that she had made several similar trips on behalf of politically influential persons. Yet as in the case of Khanani, she too, is out on bail because of a weak prosecution case while the ASF official was murdered soon after doing his duty honestly. The murder case has since been hushed up. Rather than bewail people getting let off due to weak prosecution the minister ought to fix the causes of weak prosecution in such cases to ensure all involved in wrongdoing get their just deserts.
On the all-important terrorism counter-terrorism measures that should have been up and running by now Chaudhry Nisar had little to offer by way of progress. All he had to say about the establishment of Joint Intelligence Directorate under the National Counter-Terrorism Authority was that construction of a building to house the directorate is going on, and that “it will be ready soon.” Given the crucial role intelligence has to play in countering terrorism, it is difficult to except the explanation.
Operations could be started from some other government building pending the completion of the new building. As regards the equally important 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) implementation, the minister said issues like dealing with the banned outfits, madressah reforms, monitoring people who are on schedule IV list, and checking terror financing are being aggressively pursued. On-the-ground situation though does not seem to substantiate the claim. In fact, he himself negated at least one claim saying getting rid of illegal madressahs, some of them unlawfully constructed on government land, was not an easy task, and that he needs across-the-board political support for it.
With an attitude like that this government is unlikely to undertake a meaningful reform of the maddresshas. In fact, believed to have a soft spot for some such elements Chaudhry Nisar iterated his usual refrain that a majority of madressahs are not involved in anti-state activities. Not all madresshas may be involved in violence, but a significant minority of them is known to poison young minds with sectarian hatreds.
This society will not be at peace with itself unless the government introduces reforms aimed at providing both modern and religious education to millions of young people who turn to madressahs for education as well as shelter. The minister promised to present a detailed progress report on the NAP in the next assembly session. Let him show results rather than mere promises of action at sometime in the future.
Source: Business Recorder