ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan yesterday rejected the statement of former president Asif Ali Zardari that FIA is harassing political opponents and offered the formation of a judicial commission to probe his allegation.

"If Zardari Sahib desires, I am ready to get constituted a judicial commission to evaluate the role and performance of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) during the last two and half years under my tenure," the minister said in a statement in response to the earlier remarks of Zardari.

Earlier, Zardari while addressing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said that not only the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) but also the FIA was also harassing the political opponents.

While commenting on prime minister's remarks about harassment of government employees by the NAB, the former president had said that FIA was doing nothing different than that of the bureau when it came to the opposition parties.

Chaudhry Nisar in his statement assured that FIA under his stint, as interior minister, was neither used for political, personal and illegal purposes nor he allowed any outside interference or pressure with regard to the working of the agency.

"I have always advised FIA and other attached departments of the ministry to ensure justice and rule of law," he said. FIA is completely apolitical and professional institution at the moment. We are ready for a judicial scrutiny of all cases under the probe of agency. "I don't want to go into the details how FIA was used by the previous governments," he said. "But as long as I am the interior minister, FIA would not be used against innocent people or political opponents but I reiterate my resolve at the same time that the agency would never let the corrupt elements off the hook," he said.

The minister said FIA has recovered Rs 14.6 billion from corrupt persons with the sincere efforts and the amount was submitted in national exchequer while the recovery in anti-corruption domain was only in millions during previous regimes.

FIA is the premier investigation agency of the federal government that is mandated to investigate corruption cases only related to the federation.

PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Saeed Ghani while talking to The Nation said that his party had been showing reservations about the interference of FIA in provincial matters and the statement of his party chief was in this context. He said that under the laws, FIA's jurisdiction is confined to matters concerning the federal government only and departments, which come under its administrative control, he said adding that the agency had been violating the law by interfering into the matters of Sindh government.

The official sources said that the major irritant for PPP was the FIA's last year raid at office of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). In July, 2015, FIA with the help of Sindh Rangers had carried out a raid at KMC's Land, Revenue and Engineering Departments and had took away thousands of original files pertaining to land allotment, especially of alleged illegal China-cutting. PPP fears that FIA might use this record against the Sindh based leadership in the next coming days, they added. It fears that some senior government officers might become approver against PPP leadership in this case.

A source within the PPP said that the senior leadership was not happy with the FIA and the interior minister, the way the former handled the corruption cases against former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and other senior party leaders in the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) scam. The former PM is facing court trial in that scam. FIA in the investigations had held the former PM guilty for his alleged involvement in the corruption scandal.