PM says IB memo fake, investigation ongoing

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  • Abbasi says PEMRA, IB jointly investigating forged document

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday clarified that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) memo circulated earlier which claimed of links between parliamentarians and proscribed organisations was fake and an investigating has been initiated in the matter.

In the memo, shown on a private TV channel, it was stated that former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had directed the authority to monitor the activities of 37 legislators due to their alleged links with the banned terrorist and sectarian outfits.

Addressing the parliament, Prime Minister Abbasi said that the Intelligence Bureau released a statement the very next day and said the document was forged. He said that it has been confirmed that the intelligence body did not make any such report.

“These documents are forged and there’s no truth to it,” he said. Elaborating further, he said that the Intelligence Bureau was asked to register a First Information Report (FIR) regarding the incident, which was registered at a police station in the federal capital. “The investigation is going,” he said.

He said that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and the Intelligence Bureau were jointly investigating the matter. He said that the members whose names were on the list have also been asked to file a complaint with the PEMRA regarding the incident.

“The people deserve to know the truth,” the prime minister said. The federal government had also taken notice of the fake IB memo. Earlier, the prime minister had met the parliamentarians mentioned in the fake memo and had assured them of resolution.

The lawmakers made their reservations clear to Abbasi, saying that having their names appear on the alleged list — which links them to outlawed outfits — had tarnished their image. The issue was first raised by Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada at the recently held cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Abbasi.

The list named a number of key ministers, including Riaz Pirzada, Zahid Hamid, Baleeghur Rehman, Sikandar Bosan, Hafiz Abdul Kareem and Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi. Soon after the meeting, MNA Bilal Virk told the media that Prime Minister Abbasi would issue a clarification on the floor of the National Assembly regarding the ‘IB list’ to calm down the victim lawmakers.

OFFICIAL DECLARATION: Riaz Pirzada, who has repeatedly raised the issue in cabinet meetings and the assembly, said that he would no longer move a privilege motion against agency. But he demanded that the government officially declare that the letter was fake. The ARY News channel quoted Pirzada as saying that the ‘IB list’ was not counterfeit and the ruling party would not bring motion against any media house in this regard.

“Media has every right to criticise a politician and that does not bother me, but the letter was written by a government institute and the government should elucidate it,” he told exclusively to the channel. Expressing concern over consequences of the letter, he said that the lawmakers would be deemed to be terrorists if the letter went to any other country.

He said that the motive behind the letter was to pressurise the lawmakers. Pirzada demanded from Prime Minister Abbasi to withdraw the letter. “We believe that our colleague became so embarrassed and tense after seeing his name on the list that he suffered the heart attack,” MNA Fayyazuddin Shaikh had previously said regarding MNA Najaf Abbas Siyal, who was admitted to hospital last week.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif also briefed the meeting about his recently concluded visit to the United States.