ISLAMABAD - State Minister for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi has said that Ministry of Interior would soon announce comprehensive policies on the implementation of the National Action Plan on Counter Terrorism, INGOs’ regulations, functioning of NACTA and other major issues concerned with the internal security.
In his maiden informal interaction with journalists covering internal security, Shehryar Afridi said that he was getting briefings on all the important matters of security as well as the ministry, including NAP implementation, regulation of international non-government organisations (INGOs), and functioning of the subordinate departments of the ministry. “A comprehensive policy on all these matters would be announced after discussions with all stakeholders,” he said while responding to a question whether the government would continue with the old internal security policies of the last PML-N government or not. The state minister said that eight hours long meeting of the civil and military leadership at army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) had also discussed matters related to national security including the implementation of NAP.
About a question of what was the policy of the new government on the militant groups like Haqqani Network and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), he said: “The message is loud and clear that no compromise would be made on Pakistan’s security.”
The minister said that PTI-led federal government wanted to give a right direction to the countrymen in its first 100 days, otherwise people would start saying that PTI was not different from its predecessors. He said that all matters related to the security of Pakistan would be given some shape within first 100 days of the government and targets would be set to be achieved in the future. We are in the process of making web portal for National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and passport office to oversee performance of both these organizations that fall under the interior ministry. He said that discussions were underway to enhance the capacity of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Replying to a question whether jailed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz would be released on a parole to attend the funeral ceremony of late Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, he said all decisions in this connection would be made after consultations with the government’s legal team.
The state minister also said that Balochistan had become a flash point for international forces to defame the country. He said that he had taken a tour of the province after taking oath of his office and met with the senior military leadership there, the high ups of all law enforcement agencies, and the Hazara community in Quetta to assess the volatile security situation of the province. “We want to take along the deprived province and reconcile with the estranged people of Balochistan and other areas of the country,” he said. Afridi remarked that the government was also making necessary security arrangements for the zaireen visiting Iran during Muharram while using the land routes of Balochistan.
Afridi said that it was a misconception that people of Shia and Sunni communities could not live together in a city like Quetta. “We have examples in Quetta that the religious scholars of one sect have been going to the worship places of another sect and delivering their sermons and vice versa,” he said. We are planning to share stories of these ulema of Quetta in different universities and schools of the country, he added.
The state minister in his talk said that he had been remained involved with National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) in the past being an opposition party lawmaker for a program aimed at the delivering lectures in different universities on nationalism and patriotism. He said that when they visited Kohat University of Science and Technology (KUST), the students were even wearing caps of Pashtun Tahuffuz Movement (PTM). “But after our lectures, the students raised pro-Pakistan slogans,” he said and gave an impression that perhaps the leader of PTM Manzoor Pashteen was anti-Pakistan. A journalist belonging to the old FATA area objected to the remarks of the state minister.
On this, Afridi said that Manzoor Pashteen was now in the main stream and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had also supported two candidates of his group who had recently won election on two seats of National Assembly. He said that perhaps journalists had drawn a wrong impression of his remarks. “We have to win the heart of Manzoor Pashteen,” he added. He alleged that some foreign forces with the help of India and Israel had built up a wrong narrative that Punjab being the biggest province of the country was perhaps exploiting the smaller provinces especially Balochistan.