ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Pakistan was concerned at the London Metropolitan Police’s withdrawal of a money laundering case against the founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and other party leaders.
According to Scotland Yard, the case against Altaf Hussain, Mohammad Anwar and Sarfraz Merchant was withdrawn on the grounds that after examining all the evidence it was accepted that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the money seized was the proceeds of crime or was intended for use in unlawful conduct.
But, at a press conference in Islamabad this evening shortly before the news was broken, the interior minister said that relations between Pakistan and Britain were “stuck at a dead-end” due to the issue.
Nisar said he had spoken in detail with the UK High Commissioner, who officially informed him of the news.
“I expressed concern on the news. I will express further concern on it once that news goes public,” he said.
Nisar said that all cases – money laundering, the murder case, and incitement to violence – were discussed with the British official.
“I told them that Britain and Pakistan’s relations are very good. But why are we, with regards to such a person, stuck at a backstreet or a dead-end? We need to get out of this,” he added.
“The entire Pakistani nation is following this case and how British law, which the whole world has confidence in, is handling it,” he said.
Expressing his concern over the developments, Nisar mentioned that some documents were also recovered from MQM founder’s house during the raids by the London Police.
A ‘shopping list’ of weapons and their prices was also recovered from the MQM founder’s London residence, he said. “It is the London police that provided this evidence,” he said.
“This is not just a legal issue. The entire Pakistani nation is following this case,” he added.
Earlier, the interior minister shared information about the new e-passport system and the issue of a Pakistani journalist who has been placed on the Exit Control List.
Journalist on ECL
Speaking to journalists regarding the inclusion of Cyril Almeida on the ECL the interior minister reiterated the government stance that the story is incorrect but stressed that not just a journalist but before inclusion of any Pakistanis name in the ECL inquiry must be conducted.
However, Nisar said that not just Cyril but two or three other people are also part of the inquiry and will also not be allowed to leave the country.
On the issue of the story, Nisar stated that the reporter claimed everyone present in the meeting denied the story and questioned why the paper went ahead and carried it. The reporter should have verified the story from other participants in the meeting. He went on to say that the contents of the story are echoing what our enemies are saying and has given them an opportunity to create a charge sheet against Pakistan.
The interior minister added that an inquiry committee has been formed and will look into the matter.
During the news conference, the interior minister also spoke to reporters about the new E-passport system. Nisar hoped the new system would be operational throughout the country in two years. He added that the issue of fraud would be drastically decreased with this new passport system.
According to Nisar the first phase of the E-passport system would commence from June next year and the entire upgrade would cost Rs 600-700 million. Nisar added that 72 new passport offices would be established each year.
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