ISLAMABAD - The government on Wednesday rejected reports of massive hacking into the data of major banks and said that the data of only one bank was stolen.

Federal Minister Faisal Vadwa during National Assembly session termed the reports misleading.

It is a misleading statement that all accounts of banks have been hacked or data has been breached; only one account of Bank Islami was hacked, the Minister said. He said that the regulator, State Bank of Pakistan, was looking into the matter.

He was responding to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MNA Abdul Qadri Patel, who sought clarification from the government over the recent hacking scandal. Patel said that FIA had confirmed the hacking and public was restless to know the facts.

The scandal surfaced when Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cyber-crime chief revealed that data from all major Pakistani banks had been stolen. The claim was backed by security firms who, reportedly insisted that 19,000 debit cards from 22 Pakistani banks had been stolen in the biggest cyber theft in the country’s history.

The National Assembly was also informed that policy on Hajj 2019 would be devised in 3 months. Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri while responding to a question said that the process for formulation of Hajj policy and Plan 2019 had been initiated.

He said that decision regarding Hajj dues to be collected per Haji would be taken after consultation with all stakeholders including designated airlines in due course of time and the House would be informed accordingly. He said that country quota for Pakistani pilgrims was 179,210; however, the Saudi Ministry of Hajj has been requested to increase our quota. The actual quota between government and private schemes will be decided after signing of annual hajj agreements in December 2018, he said.

Responding to another question, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was committed to develop the country on the pattern of the State of Madina and meetings with the Ulema and Mashaikh had already been started to devise a strategy in this regard.

He said that the Ministry would hold conferences to solicit views of religious scholars and intellectuals for planning a programme for ordering good and forbidding wrong. Qadri said that his office initiate legislation whenever required.

The Minister said that dialogue among various religious communities of Pakistan was vital for interfaith harmony in the country. He said that the government was planning to organise an international interfaith harmony conference next year.

Minister of State for Housing and Works Shabbir Ali said that Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme had been launched in some districts of Pakistan as a pilot project, but it would be expanded to other districts in the next phase.