Defence Minister Khawaja Asif clarified on Friday Afghan Taliban supremo Mullah Omar neither died nor was buried in Pakistan.
“I can confirm that Mullah Omar neither died nor was buried in Pakistan and his sons’ statements are on record to support this,” the defence minister said, while addressing the National Assembly.
“Whether he died now or two years ago is another controversy which we do not wish to be a part of,” Asif added.
The defence minister refuted Afghan spy agency’s claims that the Afghan Taliban supremo died in a hospital in Karachi, “He was neither in Karachi nor in Quetta,” he said.
Further, Asif said Pakistan is only playing the role of a mediator in talks between Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul.
“We do not accept that we have a control on Taliban, we are only playing a role of mediator,” the defence minister said. Asif further said that US and Chinese officials are participating in the Pakistan-brokered peace talks as observers.
“We do not want to get involved in any rivalry in Taliban leadership,” he said, adding Pakistan only wants the group’s leadership to continue the reconciliation process.
The defence minister reiterated the government’s desire for peace talks to continue. The second round of talks, which was scheduled to take place on July 31 in Pakistan, was postponed at the request of the Afghan government and the Taliban leadership.
The fate of the nascent Afghan peace process hangs in the balance following the confirmation of death of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and the subsequent rifts in the ranks of the ultraorthodox militia.
Splits have emerged at the top of the Taliban following the appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mansour as chief of the Afghan Taliban, replacing the movement’s founder Mullah Omar, whose death was confirmed last week. Some of the top leaders of the group, including Omar’s son and brother, have refused to pledge their allegiance to Mansour, saying the process to select him was rushed, even biased. Tayeb Agha, the head of the Qatar political office set up in 2013 to facilitate talks with Kabul, resigned on Monday in protest at Mansour’s appointment and on Thursday two more members followed suit.
On June 30, Afghan Taliban officially confirmed Mullah Omar died over two years ago of a prolonged illness.
Countries around the world deport 205 Pakistanis every day
Over 205 Pakistanis on average are being deported per day from various countries of the world since 2012, the government informed lawmakers during a question hour in the National Assembly on Friday.
“About 257, 433 Pakistanis have been deported from foreign countries since January 2012,” State Minister for Education Baligh Ur Rehman told Parliament, while elaborating that “55,279 Pakistanis were deported in 2012, 67,330 in 2013, 78,409 in 2014 and 56,415 in 2015.”
Meanwhile, in response to another query, the minister informed the House, “NADRA has approved online processing of requests for the issuance of National Identity Cards to Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) from abroad, and will enable the service in registration centers in Washington DC, New York, Houston and Los Angles.”
“Registration centres are also being set up in Malaysia, Bahrain, Canada and Spain for this purpose,” Rehman added.