ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi has urged the opposition parties to rise above political differences and sit with the government to work jointly for necessary legislation to help implement National Action Plan (NAP).
“You remember after APS Peshawar tragedy, all the political parties had sit together to pass necessary laws to help implement NAP in letter and spirit. Now if the opposition parties are eager to ensure durable peace in Pakistan, we invite them to sit with us and support legislation which is mandatory to implement NAP,” said the minister while speaking to Pakistan Today here in response to a query about opposition’s reluctance to support extension of military courts.
“We have formed experts groups to help legislate and address our lacunae and whether it is reforming our criminal justice system or other institutional reforms. We are also working on our national security policy which would soon be made public. We need opposition’s support on these national issues,” said the minister.
He said the federal government had launched deepening institutional reforms and a vibrant visa regime.
“We have opened Pakistan to the world. Now investors, tourists are welcomed and all state institutions stand ready and united to welcome the investors who would get maximum profit in Pakistan. We have rich oil, gas, mineral reserves; we have a lot to offer to the world. Just come and explore Pakistan,” the minister said.
The minister said that visa regime had been revolutionised and entire Pakistan had been opened for exploration. He said that visa fee had been almost withdrawn while online visa, on arrival visa policy had been launched. He said recently a tourism summit had been held in Pakistan to showcase the rich tourism potential of the country for the world.
The minister warned that some hostile forces were trying to paint a negative perception of Pakistan, so it was necessary for the world to come and see Pakistan’s true image.
Responding to Pakistan’s report to be submitted with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) next week, the minister said that Pakistan was not acting against proscribed organisations under pressure from the world. Rather, he said that we have to transform Pakistan into a state that no one would ever point a singer at it.
“We have to do it for the good of our future generations. We are not complying with the world under any pressure. We are taking all steps as a responsible and credible global state”.
Spelling out the measures taken by the PTI government, the minister said that by year 2015, there was no regulatory body to monitor the International Non-Government Organisations (INGOs). He said that the PTI took actions against all proscribed organisations across the board, taking all state institutions on board.
“The government has taken over all religious seminaries, ambulances, dispensaries, hospitals and other assets linked to the proscribed organisations. The government has also released funds to run these assets,” he added.
The minister said that in its last report submitted to the FATF, the federal government had pleaded its case in such a professional manner that except India, all the member-states had lauded Pakistan’s efforts, noting a reasonable improvement. All stakeholders are working days in and days out to achieve our goal, the minister said.
Shehryar Afridi said that in past, whenever the FATF delegation came, Pakistan’s case could not make an impact because all state institutions were sending different vibes. However, he added, all the government departments are working jointly to comply with the world body now.
The minister said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had taken exemplary measures to curb human trafficking and money laundering and all land, air and sea routes had been chocked which were previously used by proscribed organisations to raise funds for their operations.
“Airport Security Force, Customs, FIA, Coast Guards, Rangers, FCs, Army and other institutions have built effective setups to curb illegal movement of money, humans and drugs. We are fencing borders with our neighbouring countries. Our message to the world is that Pakistan won’t allow its soil to be used against any neighbour or distant country. Both Prime Minister and army chief are monitoring these operations,” the minister said.
The minister said that Pakistan would not adhere to ‘do more’ mantra by the world and neither we would take dictation from the world. We have set our house in order. Now it is the turn of the world to do more. Pakistan would plead its case as a credible state and we will tell the world to do more now.