ISLAMABAD. Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Sunday said the ‘mischievous mind’ behind the anti-national interest fabricated news item published in a national daily would be exposed before the nation.
He said effort was made through the particular news to dent cordial civil-military ties. There was a consensus on one point that the person behind the news item published in the daily Dawn would be taken to task.
Addressing a press conference here, the minister explained the government’s position on the publication of controversial news story
about the national security meeting and said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif wanted to take the matter to its logical conclusion.
Being a senior cabinet member, he said, he was tasked by the Prime Minister to hold an initial inquiry into the matter.
During initial investigations, he said, it was found that the news was false and leaked without keeping in mind national interests. He also found a lapse on the part of Pervaiz Rashid as Information Minister, and hence he was asked to step down for ensuring an independent inquiry, he added.
He said Pervaiz Rashid should have asked the correspondent not to publish such a news story or he should have asked the editor or owners of the newspaper not to run the story.
The minister said both the civil and military leadership had consensus to expose the responsible in the matter before the nation because it was compromising the national narrative on non-state actors.
He said there had always been consensus between the civilian and military leadership to indiscriminately act against the non-state actors.
Rejecting the information given in the news story, Chaudhry Nisar said no meeting on the national security had taken place on the 3rd of this month, which was reported in the newspaper.
He said in a national security meeting on the fourth of this month, the Foreign Secretary talked about realignment of Pakistan in the region, and the newspaper’s statement quoting him (Foreign Secretary) as having stated that Pakistan was being isolated in the world was totally wrong.
The minister termed the event quoted in the story i.e. a dispute between the Punjab Chief Minister and the Inter-Services Intelligence chief over action against `non-state actors’ absolutely baseless.
Baseless things were being dramatized in the media, which was no service to the country, he added.
Nisar said a high-powered committee had been constituted to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the matter to identity the responsible and bring forth his designs. More members would be added in the committee in consultation with the Prime Minister, he added.
Chaudhry Nisar said he was assured by the representatives of Dawn that Almeida, who had gone abroad, would be available for questioning. “Else, the law will take its course,” he added.
Replying to a question, he said the decision to remove the Information Minister was taken after initial findings into the matter, with the army being taken into confidence. A complete inquiry was pending, he added.
With regard to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) planned protest in Islamabad on November 2, the minister said the party intended to lock down the federal capital.
“What sort of the message will this send out to the world if the capital of a nuclear power is locked down?” he questioned. “This would be a crime not just against the government but a crime against the state also,” Nisar added.
“It is incumbent upon me to ensure that the lives of the dwellers of Islamabad are not disturbed, children should be able to go to schools, patients should be able to reach hospitals and courts should conduct proceedings,” he maintained.
Nisar recalled that Islamabad was closed for four months because of the PTI’s 2014 sit-in. As per information, the protesters were planning to intrude into Pakistan Secretariat this time also, he said, questioning how could a mob of 12,000 people from a province run over the capital and destroy everything.
He said the government intended to keep everything up and running. “Why does the PTI want to shut down Islamabad when the Supreme Court has started proceedings in the matter?” he asked.
The government, he said, would not let the PTI to shut down Islamabad and ensure that all educational institutions, trade centers, hospitals, offices, and roads remain open on November 2.
He said the government would not allow political activists to attack police and subject them to violence. He lauded the police for effectively enforcing Section-144 in Islamabad and ensuring rule of law.
The minister said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was setting a wrong tradition by running a campaign against the federal capital and warned that the persons arrested on charges of violating Section-144 in Islamabad or for recovery of weapons would be produced before the court.
He said PTI chief Imran Khan should wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict instead of resorting to arson and violence.
Answering a question, he said the government during its tenure had not put any ban on holding political public meetings in the capital as a place had been dedicated for the purpose upon the direction of Islamabad High Court.