Interior minister claims investigation into Dasu bombing has been ‘completed’ and vows zero tolerance for any obstacles to CPEC projects
Afghanistan, India, and Israel are to blame for the recent surge in terrorism across Pakistan, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed claimed on Monday, reiterating his stance that militancy in the country was being funded and fomented by “enemies” abroad.
“India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), [Afghanistan’s] National Directorate of Security, and Israel’s spy agency are trying to sabotage peace in Pakistan,” he told a press conference in Islamabad. He claimed that the foreign nations were using media—social and mainstream—to sow disharmony amongst various sections of Pakistani society, adding that it was time to “jointly” counter the enemy’s narrative to ensure it failed.
This is not the first time the interior minister has blamed foreign countries for unrest in Pakistan. Last month, he’d claimed that an “international scheme” was underway to conduct terrorist activities in the country. Similarly, he had described as an “international racket” the alleged abduction of the daughter of the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan from Islamabad.
During Monday’s press conference, he warned that security threats persisted, claiming that he had cancelled a rally and fireworks event that had been planned outside his Lal Haveli residence for Aug. 13—to mark Pakistan’s Independence Day—due to intelligence reports and the ongoing fourth wave of the coronavirus.
Ahmed said law enforcement agencies had completed their probe into the Dasu bombing that left 13 people, including 9 Chinese nationals, dead, and led to a cessation of the construction of the Dasu Hydropower project. He said the entire nation was united on Kashmir and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, stressing that there would be zero tolerance for any “obstacles in the way of CPEC.”
The interior minister said NADRA would, within a week, start issuing coronavirus vaccination certificates in line with requirements of Gulf states to facilitate people traveling abroad. He also urged the public and ulema to follow government-issued SOPs during mourning processions for Muharram, stressing that this was the only way to curb the spread of the pandemic.
On security arrangements for Muharram, he said the provincial governments had been directed to seek the help of civil armed forces, adding that he would personally visit all federating units to review their measures for law and order. He said it was the responsibility of every Pakistani to promote a culture of peace and brotherhood during Muharram to prevent “enemies” from twisting the narrative.
Ahmed also hit out at the opposition for threatening protests against the arrest of Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, claiming “not even a bird was disturbed when [PPP founder] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged.” He said Sharif was not the same caliber as Bhutto so his arrest would not result in “any anarchy.”
He advised former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to return home as “you now have only two options left”—file an appeal against British government’s refusal to extend his visa or apply for asylum. “A real leader is one who lives and dies for his nation.” He said. The PMLN has maintained that it will exercise all possible legal avenues to get Sharif’s stay extended, adding that he would not apply for asylum.
To a question, the minister said the federal cabinet had allowed the Interior Ministry to issue arms licenses but this decision would not be implemented until some rules and procedures had been issued. “We will not follow in the footsteps of previous governments by issuing 100,000 arms licenses in a single tenure,” he said.
He also announced the formation of Rescue 1122 services for the federal capital, adding that a fleet of 20 new vehicles would be procured for this purpose.