ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has rejected as ‘one-sided’ the report of the one-judge judicial commission tasked to investigate the August 8 Quetta carnage and vowed to challenge it at every available forum, including parliament and the Supreme Court.
The commission’s report – compiled by Justice Qazi Faez Isa and released by the Supreme Court on Thursday – pointed out the ‘monumental failure’ of the interior ministry to combat terrorism.
Based on investigations into the suicide bombing in which 70 people, mostly lawyers, were killed, the report stated that Nisar ‘displayed little sense of ministerial responsibility’ and that there was a continued delay on part of his ministry to take steps against proscribed organisations. It also slammed the interior minister for holding a meeting with the leader of a sectarian outfit.
The opposition parties, including the PPP, have submitted an adjournment motion in the National Assembly Secretariat seeking the resignation of the interior minister after the damning indictment of his ministry in the report.
Responding to the report and the opposition’s motion, Nisar told a news conference on Saturday that “the report is one-sided and released without including the narrative of the Ministry of Interior. In the report, personal attacks are carried out against me.”
He said the apex court is the place where justice is dispensed and even the culprit is provided the opportunity to defend himself. “But after the report, I, my ministry, and the government are being bashed though the media.”
Nisar said after allegations of his political rivals in the wake of the report, he had offered to resign in order to defend himself, “but the prime minister told me that it is unacceptable”.
Talking with reference to the commission’s questioning during its investigation, he said the commission had sent a letter to him on the address of the Punjab House and in this letter answers to five questions were sought.
He said the commission had asked him why he had met a delegation of the Ahmed Ludhyanvi-led Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). Nisar said he had replied that it was not correct that he had met an ASWJ delegation.
“On October 21, I had a meeting a delegation of the Difa-e-Pakistan Council and many political parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid, Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam are part of it. General Hameed Gul and Sheikh Rasheed have also been part of the council,” he added.
He said ASWJ leader Ludhyanvi was just a part of the 18-member delegation. “Ahmed Ludhyanvi had contested the 2013 elections and no objection was raised against him by the caretaker government, the Election Commission of Pakistan and any court,” he said, adding that the delegation had one-point agenda pertaining to blocking of CNICs.
Nisar said the second question was why her allowed the ASWJ to hold a public gathering in Islamabad. “I replied that issuing permission for public gatherings is not my responsibility as this falls within the jurisdictions of the district administration. When I inquired from the district administration I was informed that neither the ASWJ had sought permission to hold the public gathering nor it was granted to it,” he said.
Nisar said the Shuhada Foundation of a local mosque [Lal Masjid] had applied for holding a conference while neither the ASWJ requested nor it was allowed to hold the gathering.
According to him, another question was about the meeting of the Executive Committee of National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) which, the commission believed, was never held. “I replied that its last meeting was held on December 31, 2014. As no meeting of Nacta’s Board of Governors was held, the meeting of executive committee was also out of question,” he said.
Nisar also questioned the pertinence of the commission’s queries and said these questions had apparently no connection with the Quetta incident.
“The commission was about Quetta incident and I leave it to you to decide [if they have got any relation with Quetta’ attacks],” he said, adding that he would answers to everything before the apex court and would leave it to the SC to decide whether his arguments carry any weightage or not.