ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan yesterday hit out at his political opponents for criticism on implementation of National Action Plan (NAP), saying the country was losing war on terrorism at psychological front due to their unnecessary criticism.

The minister broke the silence a week after the January 20 terrorist attack on Bacha Khan University (BKU) in Charsadda and gave response, during a press conference at Nadra Headquarters, to every kind of criticism that was coming from the major opposition party – PPP - since this incident.

He was addressing at an event organised to launch passport fee collection service in collaboration with Mobicash.

Nisar’s replies and explanations cleared the minds of political circles of the country as it was being suspected that an important minister of the government was perhaps at a war with his own government. But this opened up a new front for the government against the opposition.

PPP had criticised the interior minister “over poor implementation of NAP and his no response after the BKU attack” and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Kursheed Shah in a series of statements had lashed out at Nisar, even demanding the prime minister replace him.

Losing war on psychological front: Coming down hard on his political opponent, Nisar said, “It is astonishing those criticising NAP have never read it”. War is not only fought with guns (at battlegrounds) but also at psychological front, he said, adding the country was winning the war of guns but losing psychologically due to unnecessary criticism of opposition leaders.

The minister criticised PPP leadership and the Sindh government for “politicking on serious national security issues” and said those spreading despair were strengthening the hands of enemies as the country was in a state of war. There should not be any point scoring on matters of national security.

Allegation on Shah:Nisar confirmed the stance of PTI that PPP had an underhand deal (Muk Muka) with the PML-N government. “I confirm that PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah as Leader of the Opposition had been getting befits from the present government,” he said, adding that he could give details of these benefits.

NAP a civilian govt project: Ch Nisar said that the impression was wrong that ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb was part of 20-point NAP, announced in December 2014 after the Army Public School terrorist attack. Zarbe-e-Azb started before NAP, he said. The civilian government is overseeing NAP and army is only implementing its one or two points.

He claimed that they had gained success due to NAP and killings in terrorism incidents decreased. “Only 2,500 civilians were killed in a year before they took power, 700 in 2014 and 400 in 2015,” he said. The terrorists are on the run now and choosing soft target to spread distress.

Hitting out at the PPP he said that those who did nothing in their regime were now criticising PML-N government. “Don’t give credit to the government, but don’t spread disappointment,” he appealed to the opposition, adding that some people wanted to play in the hand of enemies.

Again Pointing toward PPP, he said that if someone were in distress due to corruption cases against PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain and FIA’s action, they should talk on this issue. “But don’t beat about the bush... If someone does not like my personality, no matter; but don’t do politics on national issues.”

Replying a question the minister said that there was a need to start a targeted operation in interior Sindh and apex committee has also discussed this matter.

The minister said no one asked them how many judicial commissions they formed in their entire period of government. He said that he did not make public the wrong doings of PPP during two and half years but now he had decided to invite four media representative bodies next week and put successes of NAP and the figures of last eight years before them.

Absence after BKU attack: Answering the criticism of opposition that the interior minister vanishes from the scene after every terrorist attack, Nisar said he was ill and “even my illness was scandalised”. “I had issued the condemnation statement from the bed, but media made a mockery of my illness.” He said that he felt sorry for this behaviour of some media circles.

Schools closure: The interior minister opposed the decision of the Punjab government to close schools saying this was tantamount to bowing down to terrorism.

Appreciating the decision of KP not to close the schools after BKU incident, he said that he had turned down such request of State Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry for Islamabad.

“I will ask Punjab and other provinces not to close schools.” He also said that guards would be deployed on the rooftops of schools and media houses.

Moulana Abdul Aziz: The minister said that some misstatements were given about him in the Senate regarding Lal Masjid cleric ‘Moulana’ Abdul Aziz in his absence. PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar had said in the Senate that interior minister gave a wrong statement in the house that the government could not take action against Aziz, as there was no case against him.

“I will present the record before the Senate,” he said, adding that he would produce the facts before the nation. Replying a question he said that Abdul Aziz had not recorded any statement in a case against him.

“I will present the details of 27 cases against the cleric and give the exact details of those killed in the Lal Masjid operation, and (reveal that) who gave them financial resources... I will ask Senate chairman for live coverage of this statement in the Senate,” he said.

Relations with PM: Nisar dispelled the impression that he was not enjoying good relations with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “I am enjoying good relations with the PM... Similarly, wrong speculations were made about my Karachi visit and this was also said that I did not follow directions of the premier,” he said. He explained that his Karachi visit was not scheduled.

COAS extension: The minister avoided to comment on the decision of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Reheel Sharif not to get extension and only said this was his personal decision.

Afghan SIMs: While responding to questions, Nisar said that he had taken up issue the roaming of Afghan SIMs in Pakistan with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and this would also be taken up with the Afghan government. In areas of Fata near Afghan border such SIMs were functioning because of mobile signals from Afghanistan side.