- Interior minister urges Imran to ask Bilawal about Surrey Palace first; says Asif Zardari and Bilawal are the only two politicians in Pakistan who haven’t declared their assets
- Says army will be deployed to oversee AJK elections; Says terrorism, extortion down as a result of Karachi operation, but street crime is up; Says there has been progress in investigation of one of the two recent incidents, killing of Amjad sabri and kidnapping of Sindh CJ’s son
- Inaugurates NADRA mega centre; More centres to be established in Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi; NADRA to start sending CNIC verification messages to heads of families after Eid
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday advised Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan to ask Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari about the Surrey palace scandal “before bringing him on [his] container against corruption”.
The interior minister was speaking to media after inaugurating a National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) centre in the capital’s Blue Area. He also announced during the press briefing that army will be deployed for security and to ensure the holding of free and fair elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir which are scheduled for later in the month.
The interior minister who appeared to be attempting to discredit the PPP-PTI alliance which has announced a movement against the government after Eidul Fitr over corruption allegations against the ruling family, focused almost entirely on the corruption allegations that have been leveled against the PPP leadership in the past.
The minister said Imran Khan claims he is launching a movement against corruption and wants Bilawal and himself on the same container.
“But I request him to ask Bilawal about the Surrey palace, the diamond necklace and the Swiss accounts before bringing him on the container,” Nisar said.
“If Asif Zardari and Bilawal Zardari declare their assets, the whole issue will be resolved. Asif Zardari and Bilawal are the only two politicians who have not declared their assets, except for Altaf Hussain, who is a British citizen,” Nisar claimed.
He added that Asif Zardari remained president for five years but did not declare his assets and if he cannot do so, he should explain how he owns three palaces in Dubai.
“I would have appreciated if Bilawal would have asked his father about his assets in the same way he asks Nawaz Sharif,” said Nisar.
The interior minister maintained that a drive against corruption cannot be termed genuine if people “who set worst records of corruption in the country chant ‘corruption, corruption’ on a container”.
It is pertinent to mention here that both Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Imran Khan have announced plans to launch anti-government campaigns after Eid. However, it is not clear if the two parties will launch a joint campaign or separate ones.
The interior minister’s sharp criticism of the PPP comes a day after Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif launched a scathing attack on the PPP leadership, accusing them of rampant corruption during their terms in government.
According to independent analysts, the PML-N’s posture towards PPP shows that the party has decided to take on the PPP head on over corruption charges in wake of the latter’s refusal to budge on the Panama Leaks issue.
ARMY TO BE DEPLOYED FOR SECURITY, FAIR ELECTIONS IN AJK:
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Monday said army will be deployed for security and to ensure free and fair elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
“Transparency and fairness of elections in AJK is extremely important in view of the sham elections across the Line of Control (LoC) and we are trying to ensure fair elections upon which no one can raise a finger,” he told newsmen after inaugurating NADRA Mega Centre in Islamabad.
Despite other commitments such as fear of floods, the Pakistan Army has committed to provide troops for the purpose while Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also been asked to contribute forces, he said and added that in all 22,000 personnel will be deputed for elections in Azad Kashmir by 18th or 19th of this month.
LOTS OF PROGRESS IN ONE OF THE TWO RECENT INCIDENTS, KILLING OF AMJAD SABRI AND KIDNAPPING OF SINDH CJ’S SON:
Replying to a question, the minister said the Rangers in Karachi are mandated to tackle terrorism, extortion, kidnapping for ransom and target killings and there has been a significant reduction in these crimes there while as per police figures increase has been witnessed in the number of street crimes.
Chaudhri Nisar said there has been much progress in one of the two recent incidents of killing of Amjad Sabri and kidnapping of son of Chief Justice of Sindh High Court.
Replying to another question, the ninister said those who were raising hue and cry over corruption are also involved in purchasing properties abroad.
NADRA TO START SENDING CNIC VERIFICATION MESSAGES AFTER EID:
Replying to a question, he said NADRA will formally start sending SMS messages to family heads after Eid holidays to confirm their family trees, adding that NADRA has received 200,000 SMS messages from citizens and 5,000 citizens have pointed out intrusion in their trees. Of the total, 950 have been confirmed as fake or aliens, he added.
He said that under the re-verification drive of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs), the government has announced that any foreigner/refugee who voluntarily returns the illegally obtained CNIC within two months will be awarded a refugee status and that if a fake card holder is discovered during the drive he/she will be deported or sent to jail.
‘NADRA MEGA CENTRE’:
Giving details about the state-of-the-art mega NADRA center in the federal capital, he said that it is capable of providing fast track registration facility to citizens.
The issuance of CNIC and registration of family and children will be done at the center, he said and added that such mega centres will also be established in Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta while Karachi will have two such centres. He said that transparency in the registration process has become “our national security issue”.
The government, he said, is taking solid steps to provide modern facilities to the citizens. The center will offer all the NADRA services, including identity cards, child registration certificates and family registration certificates in minimal time.
NATIONAL POLICY ON AFGHAN REFUGEES COMING SOON:
Regarding the Afghan refugees, he said this is a quite serious matter and soon a national policy will be conceived to regulate their stay in Pakistan.
The successive governments braced the burden of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Pakistan but now the time has come to prepare a comprehensive national policy on the matter, he added.
Ch Nisar said a meeting has been planned on the return of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif which will decide upon which principles the Afghan refugees can stay in Pakistan.
PPP, PTI UP THE ANTE:
The two opposition parties – PPP and PTI – which received an earful from the interior minister on Monday, dominate the 9-party opposition bloc on the Panama Leaks. They have also sought the disqualification of the prime minister for not having declared his family’s apartments in the documents submitted to the ECP.
Both parties are of the view that after the parliamentary committee on Panama Papers failed to agree on the terms of references for the suggested probe, they are left with no option but to explore legal means against the Sharifs.
PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan last month said that his mission is to bring the opposition on one container.