- Security czar urges people not to link matter of RAW agent Jadhav’s arrest with Pakistan’s ties with Iran
- Says those criticising govt over Musharraf’s departure could do nothing against him when they were in power
- Says govt acted carefully to remove pro-Qadri protesters from D-Chowk, says their demands were ‘invalid’
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan asserted on Saturday that Iran is not involved in any anti-state activities in Pakistan, saying some segments of the country were attempting to blame the issue of the Indian spy on the brotherly country which was not right.
“Iran was insulted. It was made to appear as if Iran is not a friendly and a brotherly country. The good feel factor between Iran and Pakistan after President Rouhani’s visit has been damaged immensely, but we are trying to address it,” the minister said while addressing a press conference here.
“Iran has always supported us in tough times. The issue of the spy will be followed through, but that issue is with India, not with Iran,” said Nisar, adding, “I urge people not to link the matter of held Indian spy with our relations with Iran.”
The minister also requested the media not to relate the issue of cooperation with Iran with Kulbhushan Jadhav’s arrest, saying, “This is a very sensitive issue of relations between two brotherly countries and there are vested interests trying to hurt them.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Islamabad on March 25 to hold talks with Pakistani leadership on improving relations and strengthening economic ties after sanctions were lifted on the Islamic republic by world powers. During the meeting, the matter of the arrested Indian spy was also discussed.
Criticism regarding Musharraf unfair:
Responding to criticism over former president Pervez Musharraf’s departure from the country, the minister said the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had remained silent on the issue for five years and did not dare to put him on the Exit Control List (ECL) despite the fact that Musharraf’s name had been included in the FIR of the Benazir Bhutto assassination case in 2011.
“Where was the government then,” he questioned, and went on to say, “Our (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) government rejected his plea to leave the country three times and put his name on the ECL as per the orders of the Supreme Court.”
The minister also read out clauses from Islamabad High Court (IHC) and Supreme Court’s (SC) observations, declaring that the government cannot impede Musharraf’s travel, and promised to present the complete “truth” on Monday.
Nisar was emphatic that the government was responsible for the delays.
“During the last stage, the special court decided, at Musharraf’s request, to include three additional names of the law minister, prime minister, and the chief justice of the time. This wasn’t a government decision, but the special court’s decision. Where is the government’s non-seriousness in this matter? We reconstituted our committee and launched investigations,” he added.
Demands of pro-Qadri protesters invalid:
Speaking about the recent sit-in protests in Islamabad’s Red Zone, Nisar said that the government could not force the protesters out aggressively as it could have meant many fatalities.
“The government had to act carefully as people had gathered in the name of respect for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but were actually misled and misguided by a few,” he added.
The security czar said the government had given the protesters an ultimatum to vacate Red Zone when two of the ministers suggested “we held negotiations in order to avoid violence”. Consensus over this had been achieved in a meeting with the prime minister, where an overwhelming majority earlier held the opinion that the protesters be removed from D-Chowk with as little violence as possible, he added.
Nisar further said there had been a general consensus that the demands of pro-Qadri protestors were invalid. He said that the government decided to call in extra security forces Tuesday evening in order to have six personnel for each protestor, which reduced the risk of force being used due to the large number of security personnel present as they outnumbered the much smaller group of protestors. “When a mob of 5,000 to 8,000 are gathered, no police force in the world can stop them without fatalities.”
Nisar conceded that there had been a lack of coordination between the provincial and capital authorities during the sit-in. “An enquiry is going on into this administrative fallout,” he added.
Addressing those who had gathered at D-Chowk, the interior minister criticised their destruction of public and private property and causing inconvenience to the public as contradictory to the Prophet’s (PBUH) example.
Dispelling rumors of a ‘secret’ meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif, Nisar said the meeting was organised in an open manner.
“I think before commenting on it negatively, the media should have asked the Interior Ministry about it,” he added.