ISLAMABAD: Rejecting a perception about strain in civil-military relations, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has advised the elements churning out such rumours and expecting a political quake to come out of the mindset.
The minister, who was addressing a press conference here on Friday, also rejected a notion that Army Chief General Raheel Sharif had gone to the United States on his own and said a summary for the trip had been moved and approved by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He said the army chief had held a meeting with the prime minister a day before leaving for the US.
He described the civil-military understanding as Pakistan’s strength and said there was no civil-military divide and everything was normal. He pointed out that the prime minister and the army chief had paid at least two foreign visits together.
Says summary about army chief’s visit to US approved by PM
Chaudhry Nisar clarified that all visits abroad by the chairman of joint chiefs of staff committee and air, navy and army chiefs had been approved by the prime minister and the same was done this time as well. “The prime minister and the army chief have no separate agenda to pursue and both hold discussions in national interest. There is stability, depth and maturity in civil-military relations and the situation is normal. Difference of opinion on some issues does not mean a storm is in the offing,” he added.
READMISSION AGREEMENT: About the suspension of an agreement on readmission of illegal migrants with the European Union, the minister said it was not a kneejerk reaction, but a calculated step taken in the best interest of Pakistan. The agreement is tilted against Pakistan.
He said an EU delegation would arrive in Pakistan on Monday and was scheduled to discuss the matter with him. “We have a lot of concerns which will come under discussion during the meeting,” he said, adding that he would also convene a meeting of ambassadors of EU countries on the issue.
Chaudhry Nisar said Pakistan highly valued EU’s support for democracy, good governance and rule of law. But, he added, he would raise his voice and take all possible steps whenever fundamental rights of Pakistanis would be violated. He said a new standard operating procedure (SOP) was being developed for acceptance of deportees from European countries.
Some fresh deportees from Greece have arrived by a normal flight in violation of the procedure and a reference is being sent to fine the Middle Eastern airline which has brought them. He said that in future all airlines bringing deportees without his ministry’s approval would be fined and directed the FIA to keep an eye on passengers coming from Greece.
HUMAN SMUGGLING: The minister said a crackdown on human smuggling was under way from Khyber to Karachi. The issue will remain under focus and inquiries against the accused will be carried out.
He said those sending people abroad legally and those travelling on legal documents needed not to be worried. He said concerns of promoters of overseas employment that the crackdown would affect their business would be addressed.
About an incident in which an Indian had rammed his jeep into the Wagah-Attari border gate, Chaudhry Nisar said the man, according to India, was drunk. He said this information was not sufficient and the Indian side had been asked to explain how the man had crossed all barriers and walls on their side and crashed his vehicle into the Pakistani side of the border gate.
MONEY LAUNDERING: About the Khanani and Kalia money-laundering case, Chaudhry Nisar said that 63,000 people, including important personalities, had benefited from the ‘service’ involving billions of rupees.
He regretted that the case was not properly pursued and remained pending for years. He said that either the FIR lodged years ago would be amended or a fresh one registered. The case will be taken to its logical conclusion.
Answering a question, he said that an amount of Rs1.06 billion had been released to the National Counter Terrorism Authority and a decision taken to establish a joint intelligence directorate.
ECL: Chaudhry Nisar said that more than 9,000 names had been removed from the exit control list. He said that some people had been on the list since 1985 and the names of even children had been placed on it.
At present about 3,000 people are on the ECL. He said that a committee had been formed to examine and decide whenever investigation agencies sought to place a person’s name on the ECL.
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