ISLAMABAD -  Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Friday said that the “fabricated” story about foreign currency bank accounts of alleged rapist and killer in Kasur child abuse case was a move to destabilise Pakistan and create hindrances in the way of the democratic process as general elections were fast approaching.

Talking to the media here at the Ministry of Interior after the inauguration ceremony of mobile registration vans of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), the minister said that foreign agencies were spreading fabricated stories through social media to destabilise Pakistan ahead of the next general elections.

The culprit of Kasur incident has been arrested but a baseless propaganda was underway through social media to destabilise Pakistan, he said. “This proves how big the social media is a tool of chaos and disruption…This is the election year and we have to make sure that there’s no chaos in Pakistan.”

The minister said that story about bank accounts of accused murderer in Zainab case was an attempt to belittle the efforts of the Punjab government for his arrest.

He said that the media and the Supreme Court were trapped by the fabricated story, which should be a lesson for the media to crosscheck before running a story.

TV anchor Dr Shahid Masood in his TV show had claimed that the alleged rapist and murderer in Kasur incident was part of an international racket involved in child pornography and that Imran, the accused, held more than 37 bank accounts including that of foreign currency.

The interior minister also said that those demanding early elections were actually conspiring against democracy and the country.

“Such people want that the tenure of caretaker set-up should be prolonged,” he said, and named the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan behind the move.

The government will not allow that elections be held before July, Iqbal said.

Responding to a question about the unceremonious removal of Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, he said that whosoever including the PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari played a game to dislodge an elected government actually did injustice to the people of Balochistan and Pakistan.

At a time when some enemies were raising the slogan of independent Balochistan, it was inappropriate to dislodge the government, the interior minister said.

“I hope that no one will play such a game in the province in the future as this was bad for democracy,” he said.

Speaking on the controversy over the interior ministry’s recent change in visa regime by allowing visa on arrival to tourists and investors, the minister said that no change in the visa policy had been made but the government would have to relax it only for tourists and investors.

He said that the government was implementing the visa policy keeping in view the challenges of national security and no compromise would be made in that regard.

“We want a balance in the visa policy that had the component of national security but should also facilitate tourists and businessmen,” the interior minister said. 

Contrary to the remarks of his predecessor Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan given on the floor of the National Assembly, Iqbal said that Pakistan could not compare itself with the countries such as the US, the UK or Japan, “We cannot say that the visa policy should be bi-lateral and on reciprocal basis”.

“No one will come to Pakistan, if we say that the ministers of these countries should get visas from the Pakistani embassies because our ministers have to go to their embassy," he said.

The interior minister viewed that if the international community did not come to Pakistan, they would lose nothing.

Responding to a question, he said that he was not changing the policies of his predecessor but was rationalising them.

On the registration of international NGOs, Iqbal said that those international aid groups would not be allowed registration in Pakistan who used to send spies in the country.

“However, those working for the development of the country and have a positive role in the democratic process would have to be facilitated,” he said.

The interior minister said that the federal government was coordinating with the provinces to change the automatic weapons having prohibited bore into semi-automatic one and the policy in this connection would be implemented in an effective way.

He said that the jurisdiction of the Nadra mobile registration vans was being extended to the villages and far-off areas to mobilise the countrymen to get their identity cards.

The purpose was that to ensure issuance of the CNICs to people in far-off areas including to women.

Iqbal said that the government wanted that the women use their right to vote in the next elections and participate in the democratic process.

The mobile vans would go door-to-door to issue CNICs to women, he said.

The interior minister said that the Nadra had included 78 vans in its fleet, while 100 more vans were being arranged.  He further said that the district-level committees had been formed to unblock 125,000 CNICs.

The interior minister said that an organised campaign was underway in the country to present the narrative of China in a negative manner.

“Such people are using the language of the enemy,” he said, adding that China had extended his hand towards Pakistan when their own investors were not ready to invest in Pakistan.

He also said that Pakistan should be indebted to China for the CPEC and those creating conspiracies over this matter should know that negativity was not going to bear any fruit.