New terror group almost busted: Ahsan Iqbal

Interior minister says recounting in census blocks possible

Our Correspondent September 13, 2017
The interior minister listened to the grievances of citizens and issued directions to address them. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Tuesday that a new terrorist group involved in the recent attack on Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan had almost been busted.

“We will soon give you good news,” he said while talking to the media after an event at the Coast Guards headquarters and the inauguration of a ‘mega centre’ of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

According to security officials, the group Ansarul Sharia Pakistan was involved in the attack on the MQM-P leader.

Iqbal stressed the ‘dire’ need for creating awareness among the youth against militancy. “Some groups mobilise the youth to join militant wings. We need people who can win Nobel prizes rather than carrying guns,” he remarked.

“We need to have a proper system to monitor the student wings’ activities,” he said.

We need to bring down terrorism, not each other: Ahsan Iqbal

He said Karachi was now again becoming a city of lights and people who had left the city because of killings, kidnappings and extortion were now returning.

“More than 100 factories had been shut due to precarious law and order. Now all these people have reopened their business,” he remarked.

The minister said the citizens of Karachi should give credit for the improved situation to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

“There was an energy crisis in the country. The stock market had fallen to 19,000 points and with our efforts it climbed to 52,000 points,” he said, adding that the Panama Papers case trial and the joint investigation team had caused great loss. “The market suffered more than $1 billion loss and it was a big loss in the history of Pakistan,” he said.

Iqbal said the ‘enemy’ was fomenting terrorism to destabilise the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) but “nothing will happen to the Pak-China friendship”.

Counter-terror policies to continue: Ahsan Iqbal

He disagreed that China was playing a role like the erstwhile East India Company. He called the CPEC a game-changer, and said, “It is the future of Pakistan and we will make it successful... come what may.”

Regarding skirmishes on the Line of Control in Kashmir, the minister said Pakistan reserved its right to defend its borders with India and Afghanistan.

Asked about Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, he said the civil and military leaderships were looking after his case.

Dispelling a perception about major anomalies in the census process in Sindh, he said the civil authorities and armed forces had jointly conducted the exercise and people should stop doing politics on the issue.

“The DG Rangers has also given me a briefing on it. If anybody has any reservations, please point out particular census blocks rather than creating a controversy on it. We can start recounting in [the mentioned] blocks,” he suggested.

The minister was of the view that the population growth rate of Punjab had decreased, so it was a wrong perception that the census had been manipulated by the province. “We believe in rational discussion, so I request people to come up with concretes evidence rather than speculating on this issue.”

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NADRA centre

The minister inaugurated a NADRA mega centre in SITE area of Karachi. This is the third such centre in the city as former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had launched one each in North Nazimabad and Defence Housing Authority in April.

The centre having 26 counters comprises two floors – one for executive applicants and the other for regular ones. Separate counters have been set up for senior and disabled citizens and the seating capacity is around 300 people.

NADRA officials informed the media that around 2,000 applications could be processed at the centre in 24 hours.

The minister said 2018 would be the election year, so the government would ensure the provision of national identity card to every adult citizen. He said more mega centres would be opened across the country to facilitate people.

“We have asked NADRA to work on war footing to cover the areas where people are deprived of the national identity card. We have 278 vans and 78 more have been ordered to deal with this issue,” he said, adding that the government would arrange more vehicles, if needed.


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