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Don`t play politics over civil-military ties, warns Nisar

By Iftikhar A. Khan 2017-05-12
ISLAMABAD: A day after the government and the army resolved differences over action on a Dawn report, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has warned against politics on the sensitive issue of civil-military ties, stressing that creating a civil-military divide is the agenda of the country`s foes.

Speaking at a press conference here on Thursday, he said the context of civil-military relations was national and not political.ISLAMABAD: A day after the government and the army resolved differences over action on a Dawn report, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has warned against politics on the sensitive issue of civil-military ties, stressing that creating a civil-military divide is the agenda of the country`s foes.

Speaking at a press conference here on Thursday, he said the context of civil-military relations was national and not political.He admitted that there was a difference of opinion between the two, but said it was not on the substance but was procedural in nature.

He said the publicity of the prime minister`s directives had created confusion, but the issuance of a notification in line with the recommendations of the inquiry committee set up to probe the Dawn report issue had removed the confusion. He said an openended and fully empowered committee having senior representatives of three intelligence agencies as members had been formed, which prepared the report with consensus in some seven months.

The minister said the military leadership wanted implementation of the recommendations of the committee in letter and spirit and the prime minister had already issued instructions for it. He said the prime minister`s directives were an order for relevant ministries and a final notification was to be issued by the interior ministry.

He said the civil and military leadershipwere not in a confrontational mode and added that the government continued to interact with the military.

Terming civil-military harmony the need of the hour, he said it was required more than the past as the country was faced with enormous challenges.

He regretted that some retired army officials were trying to create an impression as if they were spokesmen for the military.

He said it [the Dawn report issue] was not as big an issue as it had been projected.

He dispelled the impression that the `government wanted to save the skin of some of the characters behind the leak`.

Had it been the case, two committees would not have been formed, he said.

Answering a question, Chaudhry Nisar said it was not his job as interior minister to `fix responsibility on those responsible for the leak`.

He assailed the critics of the settlement of the dispute and said the committee had made a decision with consensus based on facts and evidence and not on the whims of some individuals.

In an apparent reference to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan, he advised `those wishing to play cricket to look for some other pitch`.

He said the Dawn report issue was over now and added that some letters were to be written in this regard and it had already been done.

CNICs: The minister said that a decision had been taken not to block computerised national identity card (CNIC) of any individual without issuing him a notice and providing him an opportunity to challenge the move.

He said during the campaign for re-verification of CNICs, it was found that 174,000 holders of the cards were aliens. They include 10,000 Afghan nationals who have already obtained the proof of residence cards to get themselves registered as refugees.

Announcing another important decision, he said foreign tourists intending to travel to Gilgit-Baltistan for a few days will not require a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the government. He said a new notification to this effect would be issued soon. However, he said diplomats, workers of INGOs and researchers will need to get an NOC to visit the region.

Chaudhry Nisar said a decision had been taken to launch a countrywide campaign against food adulteration. In the first phase, a summary is being moved to the law division to include imported food items under the domain of the Federal Investigation Agency.

He said there were glaring irregularities in the import of food items and, as a result, edibles not fit for human consumption were being imported. He said a lot of food items, includingchocolates and toffees, were imported after their expiry to earn windfall profits.

He said importers and distributors of imported food items would be responsible to ensure that nothing hazardous for human health was imported.

In the second phase, he said, items of daily use would be checked through a procedure to be evolved in consultation with and consent of the provincial governments.

The minister said work was under way to seek issuance of red warrants against Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain and a fresh request would be sent to Interpol by June 15.