ISLAMABAD– Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik said on Wednesday nobody would be allowed to cross Pak-Afghan border from March 8 without legal documents, such as visa or permit.

“Afghanistan did not cooperate to check illegal crossing of the border, despite the repeated requests from Pakistan. And now we have decided to pursue a strict check to control smuggling and drug trafficking from across the border,” the minister said while talking to a group of reporters after attending a meeting here.

Malik said Pakistan and Iran had agreed to setup four checkposts two each on Pakistani and Iranian side of the Pak-Iran border at Taftan, and added his Iranian counterpart would soon visit Pakistan to finalise the modalities in this respect. He said duty-free trade zones would also be established near the checkposts.

The minister said the provinces had been asked to provide details about banned outfits within three days, adding that he had asked the Punjab government to take action against the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. He said he would prove the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi was involved in bomb blasts and targeted killings in Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and other areas. “It is proved that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Taliban have links with each other, and they are trying to destabilise Pakistan through terrorist activities,” he added.

Malik also said that the Punjab government had never requested for putting Ishaq Malik on the exit control list (ECL). Ishaq Malik is number one of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. He said the provinces that requested for putting up the name of anyone on the ECL, the federal government did so; however, the Interior Ministry never received any request from the Punjab government for putting the name of Ishaq Malik.

The minister said Ishaq Malik was involved in 32 criminal cases, and added it seemed that the Punjab Police were providing protection to him as he was continuing his activities.

About dialogue with the Taliban, Malik said they should bring forward reasonable people for the talks. He also said the backbone of the Taliban had been broken and they had been weakened. “We will eliminate terrorism at all costs from the country. The chief of the Awami National Party (ANP) passed a resolution at the all-parties conference in Peshawar and offered dialogues to the Taliban. We also offered them dialogue on different occasions, but these were rejected,” he said.

He said, “So today I reiterate and offer them for dialogue and they (Taliban) can move forward in an appropriate manner by appointing reasonable persons for talks.” He said as per information Ihsanullah Ihsan was a fake person and he was not genuine.

To a question on US defence secretary nominee’s statement that India was financing problems for Pakistan from Afghanistan, Malik said he had asked President Hamid Karzai and Indian authorities to clear their positions on the matter. The minister said Pakistan was a friend of Afghanistan which had always supported and raised voice at all fora in favour of Afghanistan.

“I ask Afghanistan to clear its position that it is not involved in any terrorist activity. We have done the best on our part. I hope proper clarification would be issued; otherwise I would demand an apology from both India and Afghanistan,” he added.

He said Dr Shakeel Afridi had acted as traitor and that was why he was convicted as per the law of the land. Referring to the deportation of former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, Tauqeer Sadiq from the United Arab Emirates, Malik said teams of the Federal Investigation Agency and National Accountability Bureau were already in the UAE as the accused had been traced out and would be brought back to Pakistan soon.

Replying to another question, the minister said on its part the present government had completed all investigations about the Benazir Bhutto murder case and now the matter was in court which would soon convict those who were responsible. “I am thankful and appreciate the court which is hearing the case on a daily basis. Most of the evidences have already been produced as on the basis of substantiated evidences criminals would be taken to task,” concluded the interior minister.