KARACHI - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said that war against terrorism is not a T20 or One Day match as the country did not pay due attention to this problem for years.

Nisar arrived in Karachi on Monday and met with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad and Rangers Director General Major General Bilal Akber to get briefings on progress regarding investigations into Safoora bus tragedy that claimed lives of at least 45 people.

Talking to media after meeting with Ishratul Ebad at Governor House, the interior minister said that those who carried out the attack on a bus carrying Ismailis near Safoora Chowrangi had come under focus.

When asked if investigators had found any proof of RAW’s involvement in Safoora attack, Nisar said though some arrests have been made but “we should not rush to making conclusions until the investigation is complete”. It would be too early to say anything about it as the investigation was progressing in three dimensions, he added.

Nisar said that war against terrorism and militancy was not a T20 or One Day cricket match as the country was facing this menace from 2001 and did not pay attention to it for years. He said that security agencies work as per policy given to them. “Earlier there was lack of policy over action against militants,” he maintained.

“From 2009 to 2013, no attention was paid to curb the menace of terrorism but the present government is trying its best to tackle it,” he said, adding that they tried to resolve the issue through dialogue initially but when the other party double crossed them, they initiated operation against them.

The minister said when the PML-N came into power in 2013, there were six to seven blasts on daily basis but now things have improved much. “Police, Rangers and other law enforcement authorities had been playing vital role in curbing terrorism from the country but a single incident like Safoora tragedy sends all their achievements into oblivion,” he said.

Giving the data of country-wide operations against militants since the operation Zarb-e-Azb began in North Waziristan, the interior minister said that 10,000 intelligence based operations were carried out in the country that led to arrest of 36,000 people involved in militant activities while 3,000 raids were carried out after the announcement of National Action Plan.

The action taken by military and other security agencies has broken the backbone of terrorism; resultantly, some terrorists were killed, others fled across the border while a number of them had shifted to their hideouts in the urban centers of the country, he said. Ch Nisar said it was due to pressure on militants that they had shifted their focus on soft targets that led to the attack on Ismailis, who are peaceful citizens of the country.

“When I asked the chief minister as to why the Ismailis were not given proper security, he replied that he could not imagine that such a peaceful and non-violent community could be targeted,” the interior minister said, adding those who killed innocent people would not only bear the brunt of their heinous act in this world but also go to hell in the hereafter.

The minister said that he held talks on several policy issues with the CM and some major decision were taken, few of which would be disclosed after follow up meetings in Islamabad while the others would be kept secret.

Nisar also lamented private security agencies for not following the SOPs for hiring and said that he had asked the Sindh chief minister to review the policy regarding security agencies and make them accountable.

He said that a uniform policy for computerisation of armed licences would also be established after consultation with the CMs of all provinces.

Responding to queries regarding illegal immigrants in Karachi and role of Nara in this regard, the minister said it was unfortunate that Karachi had become a hub for illegal settlers; however, a new strategy had been devised for collaboration between Nara and Nadra for their registration. “All political parties have to join hands in resolving the issue of illegal immigrants in Karachi and ask them to either get registered or leave the city,” he said.

About Imran Farooq murder case, he said he had received the JIT report on accused Moazzam Ali but he would not discuss it as it would divert the focus of the press conference. “Pakistan and Britain were working on extradition treaty but the other party had more reservations over it,” he said, adding that they still had some agreements for exchange of criminals.

Nisar defended CM Qaim Ali Shah and said that asking him and IGP to resign was an attempt to create division within the nation. He said that terrorism was not only a problem in Sindh or Pakistan rather it was a world-wide issue. Hundreds of people were killed in New York attacks while nine people died in Texas in a recent terrorist activity but no one demanded resignation from anybody, he added.

The CM earlier during the meeting with CM Qaim said that Safoora Goth tragedy was a big incident that was condemnable by all means. He also conveyed to the interior minister problems being faced by the province due to lack of funding from federal government, saying it was also a great hindrance in equipping the forces with latest weaponry. Nisar assured Qaim of full support from the federal government in this regard. The two leaders also agreed over speeding up targeted operation in Karachi and improving intelligence sharing between the security agencies.

The interior minister also visited Rangers Headquarters where he laid a wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhuda and prayed for the souls of the martyrs. The DG Rangers briefed the minister on the ongoing targeted operation, law and order situation in the province and progress in Safoora tragedy probe. He was also briefed about high profile target killings in the city and appreciated Rangers role in curbing the killings.

The interior minister also met with the Ismaili community representative in Pakistan Sultan Ali Allana and condole with him the deaths of innocent Ismailis. The minister informed him about the progress in the investigations.