Afghan team also probing ‘kidnapping’ incident

Sheikh Rashid says govt to ensure foolproof security for diplomats


Our Correspondent August 02, 2021
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addressing the media in Karachi. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

The investigation into the alleged kidnapping of the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador in Pakistan was complete, while the Afghan investigators were also in the country to look into the matter, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said on Monday.

The minister addressed a press conference in the federal capital, in which he dilated on various issues pertaining to his ministry. He assured that the government would ensure foolproof security system at the Diplomatic Enclave.

Rashid said that the Pakistani side had completed the investigation into the alleged abduction of Selsila Alikhil, the daughter of the Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhil. He added that an investigation team sent by the Afghan government was also part of the probe.

“The Afghan investigation team is in Pakistan to complete its investigation. We are in touch with our Foreign Office [on the investigation],” the minister said, adding: “The Afghan team can meet those persons who have been interrogated by the Islamabad police.”

It was reported last month that Selsila Alikhil, 27, was briefly “kidnapped and tortured” by unidentified people, while returning from a bakery in the posh Blue Area of the federal capital on July 17.

Rashid said that the interior ministry would share facts about the case with the Afghan investigation team through the Foreign Office. He assured that the government would install 190 cameras in the Diplomatic Enclave for the protection of the diplomatic staff there.

Read Selsela tight-lipped at evidence

About the situation along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, he said that the army had almost completed the fencing of the border to keep the militants out. He denied any illegal movement through the border, saying that only 208 people, having legal documents, had entered Pakistan.

The minister also rejected the claims that the Taliban militants were residing in Pakistan or any Afghan refugees were coming into Pakistan as a result of the ongoing conflict in the war-torn country.

Responding to a question, Rashid said that all effective measures would be adopted to maintain security and harmony during the upcoming month of Muharramul Haram. A high level meeting will be held online to chalk out a comprehensive security plan for the holy month.

When asked about the people intending to travel abroad, the minister said that the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) would issue the Covid-19 vaccine certificate through its online system to facilitate the Pakistanis at the airports in 64 countries.

He reveals that the government had dismissed all those NADRA officials who were involved in fake national identity cards issue in Karachi and other cities. He added that special directives had been issued to ensure rotation of officials in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and NADRA.

Some people had occupied the posts for the last many years, the minister said, adding: “Some 64 employees of the Passport Office, working in different countries, have been asked to return back to Pakistan by August 20, while other employees would be posted on these posts on merit.”

Speaking about the horrific murder of Noor Mukadam, Rashid said all the accused, including the prime suspect Zahir Jaffer’s parents and driver had been arrested.

The minister was hopeful that the accused would be handed down a death sentence.

Dasu incident probe

Speaking on the investigation into the Dasu incident, he said it had progressed and “foolproof” security arrangements were being ensured for the Chinese citizens. “China is our sincere friend and every possible security would be provided to the Chinese citizens working in Pakistan,” he added.

Read Sino-Pak ties emerge stronger after Dasu test

Responding to another question about the opposition, the minister said the government was willing to talk if Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif was interested in reconciliation.

According to Rashid, Prime Minister Imran Khan was neither threatened by the PML-N nor by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). “Their politics has finished. The damage to the PML-N has been due to its own policies [...] They have no political future,” he said.

He said there was a rift between the two camps within the PML-N, one led by Shehbaz Sharif and the other by Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. “If Shahbaz wants to talk to the government, our doors are open,” Rashid stated.

The minister said that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) had also been directed to start 1122 service to ensure immediate help during the flood-like situation in the federal capital because no quick service was available in Islamabad.

The minister said that he had instructed the deputy commissioner of Islamabad to remove all encroachments and illegal constructions from Islamabad’s nullahs by August 30, adding that he would personally supervise the operations.

(WITH INPUT FROM APP)

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