Expressing his resolve to challenge the findings of a recent report by Supreme Court’s Commission on Quetta terror attack at the apex court, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Saturday disclosed that he had offered to resign in the wake of Commission’s report.
Speaking at a news conference to respond the critics and present “another side of the story,” Nisar also maintained that the Commission finalised its report and hurled allegations against him without hearing him, describing the report as “one-sided.”
“Before interacting with the media, yesterday I went to meet the Prime Minister and told him if my expression embarrasses the government, I would resign to set the record straight. He [PM] said that is unacceptable, which is why I am standing here in front of you today to tell you the other side of the story,” he said.
He said he was also asked not to speak to the media on the report. “But I again said, I would resign for the purpose to speak to the media to explain my position,” he said, adding it was hurting him that he, his ministry and the government facing unfair criticism. Nisar stated that he came to know about the findings of the report through media. “I am not a lawyer but I fail to understand how a report was prepared without having the interior ministry’s narrative; it is one-sided,” he said, adding that be was hurt badly when he found newspapers accusing him of lying to people.
He also posed questions on the mandate of the Commission, saying the inquiry body had only the mandate to make its finding about the Quetta attack. “Could you tell me if there is a little about that particular incident,” he posed a question to the media. Nisar stated that he never lied and always tried to do the right things, adding security of the country is extremely sensitive.
“A personal blow to me is one thing but a blow to the national security is another matter…no one feels for that…And I’m worried as to how much it could damage the ongoing counterterrorism operations, the country’s security plan and the security agencies in coming days,” he added.
He shared the “progress” of the counter-terror operations with the media to what he described as the “other side of the story,” saying more than 2,000 intelligence-based operations have been conducted and that the terror incidents have reduced to 754 incidents during 2016 from 1,938 attacks in 2009 alone. “People who have not even read the National Action Plan are the ones who have been claiming that it has not been implemented,” he said, adding around 10,000 terror incidents took place from 2010 to 2013.
The interior minister said that during the course of the Commission’s proceeding, a letter for him was received at Punjab House, which contained five questions. “I thought it was a fake letter because I do not live here at Punjab House and it should have been sent to my ministry. Upon investigation, I found out the judge’s secretary had left that letter for me here.” He further said that the first question was as to why I met a delegation of banned outfit Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamaat (ASWJ). “I replied that I have never met them but I met a delegation of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), which is not a banned outfit, and the ASWJ chief Ahmed Ludhianvi was also part of this delegation because his party is also part of that alliance or council,” he said, adding he could not stop him or refuse to meet the delegation. He said that the DPC delegation had met him on the request of Maulana Sami-ul-Haq to resolve the issue of CNIC verification, adding anybody’s nationality could be revoked for being on Fourth Schedule. “Even Husain Haqqani [former ambassador to the US] is holding Pakistan’s passport and the CNIC,” he added.
“I replied that I have never met them but I met a delegation of Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC), which is not a banned outfit, and the ASWJ chief Ahmed Ludhianvi was also part of this delegation because his party is also part of that alliance or council,” he said, adding he could not stop him or refuse to meet the delegation. He said that the DPC delegation had met him on the request of Maulana Sami-ul-Haq to resolve the issue of CNIC verification, adding anybody’s nationality could be revoked for being on Fourth Schedule. “Even Husain Haqqani [former ambassador to the US] is holding Pakistan’s passport and the CNIC,” he added.
He further said that the commission also questioned him why the ASWJ was allowed to hold a public rally in Islamabad while the PTI was denied the same. Nisar said he replied that it was not the interior ministry but the capital administration to allow or deny any public meeting in the federal capital. He further said that the public meeting was organised by a local Shuhada Foundation, run by Lal Masjid (Red Mosque).
“I answered all the queries and it is all on the record. However, the questions posed to me never mentioned the Quetta attack,” he said. “So where did I lie in my answers?” he questioned. “I understand those in the Supreme Court deserve honour and those who go there for defending themselves are also worthy of respect,” he said, adding, “I will ask the judge if this commission was about the Quetta incident or something else?”
“Supreme Court is a place of justice and honour, if anybody wants to make it to be a ‘place of insult,’ I cannot sit idle,” he added. “I’m on this position [interior minister] for the sake of respect, otherwise holding any position without respect is just a curse,” he maintained.
Nisar further said that it has now become a challenge for him to present the facts and figures regarding the performance of his ministry, all institutions and the provinces with regard to implementing of the NAP, at all platforms including the apex court and the parliament and respond to each and every allegation levelled against him in the report.
He further mentioned though there are still some enemies on the run, operation Zarb-e-Azb is progressing in the right direction. He further said that the decision of the operation was taken earlier but it was deferred due to elections in Afghanistan.
To a question, he also came down hard on the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and termed his party a “Bacha Party.” “Someone should tell this child [Bilawal] that the list which carries the names of offshore companies, also contains the name of his slain mother [Benazir Bhutto],” he further maintained.