Pakistan’s security czar has claimed that more than 1,000 foreign spies visited the country in the guise of social workers under the previous government.
“Around 1,000 intelligence operatives visited the country after getting visas in the name of international aid groups in the previous government’s rule,” Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar said while addressing the Senate on Thursday. “All these people were working with hostile intelligence agencies.”
He was responding to a call-attention notice by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl Senator Hafiz Hamdullah and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Saeed Ghani regarding various statements about the operations of international nongovernmental organisations (INGOs), particularly Save the Children.
Nisar asserted that several INGOs were involved in anti-state activities and were not stopped by the previous governments.
He alleged that two Africa-based international aid groups engaged in unlawful activities in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan were backed by the United States, the European Union, India and Israel. Pakistan took up this issue before the United Nations Economic and Social Council and their credentials were cancelled by a vote of 15 to five, he added.
Criticising the previous government, the interior minister said the people who raised the slogan of ‘Pakistan first’ never dared to take action against these INGOs.
He added that his ministry had sealed the Islamabad office of Save the Children on the request of the Economic Affairs Division.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said an online system was being developed to clearly specify the nature of activities, funding and spending of the NGOs working in the country.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in his written reply to the upper house of parliament stated that the five cellular service providers had paid Rs37.8 billion in taxes to the government in the past three fiscals.
According to the breakdown provided, Mobilink leads the pack with Rs11.1 billion paid in taxes. Zong paid Rs9.1 billion in taxes while Telenor paid Rs8.5 billion. Ufone and Warid Telecom paid Rs6.9 billion and Rs2.1 billion, respectively.
The Senate passed the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill, 2015, aimed at rationalising and reorganising the local government system in the federal capital.
Two bills were unanimously passed for amending the Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance Act, 1969. The House also passed the Capital University of Science and Technology Bill, 2015, providing for establishment of the Capital University of Science and Technology.
The House will be briefed today (Friday) on the talks between the Afghan Taliban and Kabul government hosted by Pakistan.
Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani requested the government to brief the lawmakers on this issue before adjourning the hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.