Taxila - The government will ‘soon’ ask India to allow Pakistani team of investigators probing the Pathankot attack to visit the site, Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan said.

Addressing a news conference after the inauguration ceremony of Rescue 1122 Service here on Tuesday, the minister said “We will soon ask India to let our special investigation team experts to visit Pathankot airbase .”

The minister said Foreign Office would formally approach India to seek permission for Pakistan’s special investigation team to visit Pathankot. The team’s visit would help gather relevant information on Pathankot attack as answers to many questions and links might be found there, he said.

He said that the investigation team had held many meetings and its work was proceeding ahead.

Responding to a question, Nisar once again ruled out the presence of militant organisation Daesh in the country but came with a new version that some local militant groups were rebranding themselves with its name.

Around 45 different terrorist organisations were operating in Pakistan and they kept on changing their names but there was no presence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or IS in the country, as it was a North African and Middle Eastern organisation, he said while.

Nisar’s denial about the presence of Daesh for the second time within a week after the statement of DG IB gives an impression that there was a complete disconnect between the state institutions on important matters of national security.

DG IB Aftab Sultan while giving a statement before the Senate Committee had said that Daesh was a potential threat in Pakistan.

“Only local terrorists were using the name of Daesh and they were the breakaway elements of the local terrorist organisations,” Nisar said in Taxila, adding these breakaway factions pose themselves as the franchise of Daesh.

He said that there was no structure of hierarchy of Daesh in Pakistan. We should not see things in the context of existence or non-existence of IS, he said.

The terrorists of Daesh arrested from Karachi and Sialkot had links with the local militant organisations, he added.

The minister said that his earlier statement in this connection was misreported. He also asked media not to mention names of terrorist organisations in their reports as it gave them unnecessary publicity.

Publishing of their activities and claims as headlines were counterproductive, because such coverage only served to raise their profile, he added.

He said that all the terrorist organisations were on the target of the Armed Forces and the terrorists were on the run.

“We will eliminate terrorism and make Pakistan a peaceful country,” he said.

He also made it clear that he never said that there was no case registered against Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz.

Answering a question, he said that action would be taken against Maulana Abdul Aziz, if he broke the law and if any evidence was presented against him.

“If there is any evidence, do bring it. I know the civil society is raising political slogans.”

He said 31 cases had been registered against Maulana Aziz of which 11 were of heinous nature, but he was acquitted due to weak evidence and prosecution during the tenure of previous government.

Nisar said after acquittal Maulana Aziz was also allowed to give Friday sermon, his niece was given a job in Islamabad’s Lal Masjid and he was also provided guards.

“But I have withdrawn all such facilities provided to him.”

Replying to another question, Nisar said that forced disappearances was a serious human rights violation issue and this would not be allowed under his tenure.

He said that security of media houses was being given priority and steps were being taken in that regard.

He said that it was the personal decision of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif not to get extension.

He said giving extension to the army chief is the discretionary power of the prime minister and governments make such kind of decisions at the end of tenure of the outgoing army chiefs.

To a question about any chance of extension to the present army chief, he said a decision in this regard will purely be made on merit.

Responding to a question as to who will be the next army chief, it would be premature to talk on this subject at this stage.