ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan put to the test his cabinet colleagues by presenting progress of his ministry on floor of National Assembly daring other ministers to follow in his footsteps and inform the house and masses about the performance of their respective ministries.

In a bizarre style, the minister turned his microphone on and stood up only to consume maximum time of the house by volunteering to present progress of his ministry making the house leave the entire legislative business unaddressed as Mr Nisar went on to boast about his achievements as interior minister.

The minister invited thumping applause from entire opposition after he blamed other federal ministers for either being habitually absent from the house or hesitating to present their respective ministries’ performance before the parliamentarians.

Though Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself is supposed to evaluate performance of his cabinet, Mr Nisar said cabinet meetings were a routine activity and emphasised the federal ministers were answerable to the parliament as they were ministers for the entire country.

“As interior minister my office has introduced historic measures to facilitate people in making of passports and identity cards. Now Nadra is a profitable authority and generates Rs5 billion as revenue though it was running in loss until just a year ago,” Mr Nisar said.

“Now passports are available to applicants within 10 days instead of 15 days. Passport offices will be established in each district across the country. Next year, 73 regional offices will be functional in 73 districts,” Nisar went on to say as the house echoed with thumping of desks.

But in the same breadth he suggested that the rest of cabinet members should also inform the lawmakers about their performance. He even suggested that the Business Advisory Committee of the house should come up with rules making all the ministers bound to present their performance.

As Nisar continued to speak high of his performance, Federal Minister for SAFRON Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch left the house and did not return though a call attention relating to his ministry was on the agenda items.

Ministers present in the house on the occasion visibly looked perturbed over the tirade of the interior minister as some ministers did not join the lawmakers in hitting desks in recognition of what Mr Nisar said.

On one point when Nisar mentioned Pashtuns, Sindhis, Balochis, Punjabis and Fata people as equal citizens of Pakistan, Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafique interrupted him to mention Kshmiris too. “Kashmiris are ruling the country,” Chaudhary Nisar responded apparently referring to some members of the federal cabinet and Premier Sharif himself who also has a Kashmiri background. Saad Rafique also has Kashmiri origin.

The interior minister said there was no room for VVIPs in his ministry saying he and his family members drove to passport office for renewal of their passports, and informed that he also requested president and prime minister to physically show up at passport offices and Nadra in this regard.

“I rejected a request of Sindh government when I was approached to allow mobile facility of Nadra for identity cards of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and his sisters. Rules should be followed by all and sundry. There is no room for VVIPs in my ministry,” he asserted.

But it was not that lawmakers only praised the minister. JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman complained that Nadra has blocked identity cards of all members of different tribes and not just that of suspected individuals.

As Mr Nisar said Nadra has blocked over 100,000 identity cards of foreign nationals or fake card holders, ANP’s Ghulam Bilour interrupted the minister saying majority of the victims belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and not Punjab complaining that Pashtuns were singled out.

PPP’s Nafisa Shah triggered the minister to express his anger when she reminded him about a funeral of 20 unknown people in Dir that was attended by thousands of people who came from Afghanistan. “I ask the minister which identity cards these people possessed. How they got hold of Pakistani passports,” the lawmaker asked.

A federal minister who spoke to The Nation later said Nisar should have not lambasted the other ministers on floor of house. “He should lodge the complaint with the prime minister if he thinks the ministers are performing poorly. Ministers are answerable to the prime minister and not to the interior minister,” he said.