ISLAMABAD: The beleaguered interior minister has fired a broadside at the PPP, which has been calling for his resignation since a judicial commission on the August 8 Quetta hospital massacre held Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s ministry responsible for ‘monumental failure’ in combating terrorism.
“During the tenure of the previous government, PPP officials had massively laundered money with the help of one of the biggest money changers, Khanani and Kalia, and later destroyed the evidence,” Nisar claimed while talking to journalists at Islamabad’s Police Lines on Tuesday. “I will make important revelations in the case in the next two weeks.”
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Altaf Khanani was arrested in September last year following a sting operation by the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He has pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge before a US court and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison plus a fine of $250,000.
The security czar disclosed that when Khanani was arrested, he had ordered the Federal Investigation Agency to conduct an inquiry against him in Pakistan as he was a Pakistani national also doing business here. “Investigations were also conducted against Kalia in 2008 but later this issue had been brushed under the carpet,” he added. “Later, I had an inquiry conducted into the case which revealed extremely serious things.”
“Billions of rupees had been laundered by the currency dealer in connivance with people in the then government. On the direction of ‘these people’ the record had been destroyed and now I am looking for this record,” Nisar added.
He said the government would conduct an inquiry to find out who had been involved in the money laundering and how the government of that time had destroyed the record.
Nisar also hit out at PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto for raising the Panamagate scandal and said when the PPP talked about curbing corruption it looked as if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was campaigning for the rights of Muslims in India.
“He screams for accountability in the Panama Papers controversy, even though his mother [Benazir Bhutto] has also been named in the papers. Please first take your mother’s case in court,” Nisar said without naming Bilawal Bhutto.
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“He [Bilawal] keeps shouting in a bizarre, broken Urdu, though he can’t differentiate between genders. Perhaps someone has told him that imitating the style of [PTI chairman] Imran Khan could rescue the sinking ship [of PPP],” he said.
Answering a question, Nisar said it was extremely sad that Sindh police’s ‘honest’ inspector general AD Khawaja had been sent on ‘forced leave’ by the provincial government without any consultation with the federal government.
Asked about the demand of the Abbottabad Inquiry Commission chief, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, to make public the report on the 2011 US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, Nisar said he would ask the cabinet to reveal the findings.
“The Abbottabad raid was the biggest attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty in the last 69 years,” he said. “However, the final decision over the Abbottabad Commission report rests with the prime minister.”
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To another question about the 2012 Baldia factory fire, the minister said scores of citizens had been burnt to death for money. “The credit should be given to the incumbent government for bringing the main culprit, Rehman Bhola, from Thailand to Pakistan for investigation.
“Bhola had fled abroad but the ministry of interior followed him and traced out him in Bangkok and with the help of the Thai government and Interpol he has been brought back,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2016.