ISLAMABAD - Interior Ministry Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Monday said Ministry of Interior would soon announce new policies on arms licences, possession of bullet-proof vehicles and private security agencies working in the country.

The minister also said that people were put on ECL (exit control list) like ‘wholesale’ on trivial matters including quarrel between husband and wife in past and the ministry had now come with a clear policy.

People would be put on ECL only on the directions of superior judiciary, NAB and FIA, he said while stating the policy and added that those declared by military as ‘sensitive’ would also be included in the list. “No person had been put on ECL on the directions of minister or interior ministry during more than last one and half years as we have decided to institutionalise ECL,” the minister said giving briefing to National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior about performance of his ministry since he held office in June 2013. He said he faced a lot of pressure but did not put a single political opponent on ECL.

Ch Nisar condemned the terrorism incidents at two churches in Lahore and said the nation will have to stand untied against terrorists who have come with a ‘new policy’ of making schools, churches, mosques and other worship places as ‘their soft targets’.

He at the same time condemned the incident of setting ablaze two men to death after Youhanabad churches attack and said those who took the law into their hands and lynched two persons actually promoted the agenda of terrorists. “There is no logic of setting ablaze two persons to death and no country of the world allowed this,” he maintained.

He said no one knew that army was present in every part of the country as a third layer of security followed by police and civil armed forces and claimed that the ministry had prior intelligence information of 70 percent major terrorism incidents that occurred in the country during last some period.

Nisar announced that the Ministry Of Interior was formulating new policies on arms licences, issuance of no-objection certificate for bullet-proof vehicles and on the security agencies operating in the country. “New policies will soon be announced at least on these three issues,” he said.

Nisar informed the committee that only 70,000 prohibited bore (PB) licences were issued in the previous regime and 0.5 million were issued before this. “To ban issuance of all kinds of arms licences is not any easy job,” he said, adding, some private agencies had been found hiring guards having criminal record and some agencies did not provide better working conditions to security guards. “In the new policy, the interest of security agencies, their employees and clients will be safeguarded,” he said.

On the issuance of NoC for possession and conversion of bullet-proof vehicles, he said action had been taken against a section officer of the interior ministry and some private persons who were making money by running the business of fake NOCs for bullet-proof vehicles.

The minister said that when he took charge of his office as interior minister, some sensitive files in the ministry including some agreements with foreign countries were found missing. “I have given three directions to make the whole system of the ministry computerised but a mafia within ministry is opposing this change. Now I have talked to IT ministry and Nadra to digitalise the ministry,” he said. Nisar said an accountability mechanism was being introduced in the ministry, besides introduction of an incentives-based system in FIA and Nadra.

Nisar said implementation on agreements with some countries on exchange of prisoners had been suspended after an inquiry revealed that such persons were brought back in Pakistan for their release only. Such prisoners had to complete their remaining sentences in Pakistani jails. “We have taken action against a section officer of the ministry and other persons involved in this crime,” he said, adding, that agreements would remain suspended till the completion of an inquiry as it is believed that some more persons were released in this fraud.

Nisar said interior ministry did not give a single name to IB and ISI for taping of phones of any person including parliamentarian or journalist during his tenure. He said ban had been imposed on sending of police officers to UN missions as country was facing shortage of police officers/officials.

About the verification of SIMs, he said out of 130 million unverified SIMs, 100 million had been biometrically verified. “After December 16 APS incident, when I took up the matter with mobile operators of the country for biometric verifications of SIMs, they threatened to close down their business where they had invested millions of dollars,” he said and added that he showed a zero tolerance on the issue and brought the mobile operator to government’s timeline of 90 days for the verification process.

Nisar told lawmakers that any kind of interaction of officials of interior ministry with foreign nationals, foreign missions, embassies or to attend their functions without prior approval and visit of foreign countries on their direct invitations had been banned. He said this was a practice in the past. “This is a way of corruption and there is nothing on record,” he said.

He said security from VVIPs was withdrawn and he himself returned his security and faced a lot of pressure on this issue. Nisar said passport office had a backlog of 0.5 million passports when the incumbent government came into power and this backlog was cleared in two months and there was no backlog of a single passport now.

“In past, around 2,000 official passports were issued to people not entitled for them and these were later used in human-smuggling. I cancelled all these passports,” he said, adding, that some VIPs, their relatives and staff officers were involved in it. Official of FIA have been arrested for their alleged involvement in human-smuggling and some police officers were also arrested for misusing their authority. He said that 1,262 VIPs were challenged by traffic police for violations during his tenure in Islamabad as compared to seven in the previous regime. These VIPs include generals, judges, MNAs, senators and chief ministers.

The minister informed the lawmakers that seven million passports were issued during the last one and half year and national kitty earned profit of 32 billion rupees. He said that 72 new regional passport offices would be opened in addition to existing 97 ones. Machine-readable passport system is being installed at 56 foreign missions abroad. He said existing passport and visa issuance system was being improved and E-passport was being introduced while work on IBMS system was in progress.

“Sixty-two officials in FIA have been dismissed for their involvement in corrupt practices but they got stay orders,” he said.

The minister said that Nadra earned 2.9 billion as profit in the last year of this government which was going in loss in 2012. FIA recovered 400 million rupees in 2012 and in the last one and half year, it recovered 6.5 billion rupees.

To questions by MQM lawmaker Asif Husnain, he said insult of parliamentarians and women during raid at Nine-Zero was intolerable and he himself would investigate the matter.

“We will address MQM’s grievances and reservations with mutual consultations,” he said. Nisar maintained that no political party was being pushed to wall. “A culprit will remain culprit either he is in PML-N or MQM”.

Asif Husnain challenging some claims of the minister said FIA had not opened corruption cases of the past and the phone of parliamentarians in Sindh were still being taped. He said Rangers insulted women and parliamentarians during raid and MQM was being pushed to wall.