Nawaz’s passport to stand cancelled on Feb 16, says Interior Minister

PESHAWAR (APP): Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Friday said the diplomatic passport of Nawaz Sharif would stand cancelled on its expiry on February 16 as the government would not renew it.

Pakistan had no extradition treaty with Britain under which Nawaz Sharif could be brought back, however efforts were underway on all fronts to get him repatriated to face corruption cases, he said while addressing a press-conference here after winding up his two days visit to Khyber Pakthunkhwa and merged tribal districts.

The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan was fighting the scourge of corruption and he would not compromise with the corrupt elements.

He said the manual visa system ceased to exist today with the launch of online system for 191 countries in line with the prime minister’s vision of making the process easy. The new system would help eradicate corruption and ensure transparency, besides addressing complaints of the visa aspirants, especially from China and Afghanistan.

About 200,000 visa applications were received through the online system on its first day, he added.

The interior minister said some 528 non-governmental organisations were were working in Pakistan and action would be taken against those, which were found involved in politics.

He said the protection of worship and holy places of minorities and their leadership was the constitutional and legal obligation of the government.

He said the KP chief minister had been directed to take strong notice of the recent Karak’s unfortunate incident. Such incidents were not acceptable and strict action would be taken against the responsible.

No one would be allowed to take law in their own hands, he warned.

Sheikh Rashid said the use of indecent language against the Armed Forces of Pakistan would not be tolerated and the case of Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam-F leader Mufti Kifayatullah had been referred to the KP government for necessary action.

The law would take its own course whosoever used unparliamentary language against the armed forces, he added.

The minister said the political parties were free to exercise their political rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. He, however, warned that the government was going to take a strong action against armed wings of the political parties.

“We have taken serious notice of armed wings of political parties, and are considering to impose a ban on these wings,” he added.

Sheikh Rashid said he visited the Torkham border today. The border management system with Afghanistan and other countries would be further strengthened as per international standards, he added.

He said the government strongly believed in freedom of media, which had a great role in the democratic system. The media should, however, be more responsible while highlighting national and geo-political issues, and guiding the nation in right direction towards a prosperous and tolerant society.

The minister strongly condemned the Indian’s nefarious designs against Pakistan, saying its media malicious propaganda stood exposed before the entire world.

To a question about the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Sheikh Rashid said it was out to create political chaos and instability in the country. However, it was encouraging that the Pakistan Peoples Party had decided to take part in the Senate polls and by-election, and hopefully the Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz would also follow suit.

PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, he said, was now in a blind alley. He had currently no role in politics as his policies had already been rejected by the masses in the 2018 general election.

He said there had always been room for dialogue in politics and mature politicians never took extreme positions. The government would take decisions in line with the emerging situation due to PDM’s moves and actions.

The minister said the government wanted to overcome the price hike in the new year. Concrete measures were being taken to bring down prices of all essential commodities. The chief secretaries of all the provinces had been directed to take strong action against elements involved in the price hike and hoarding, he added.

To a question, Sheikh Rashid said the people of KP had had never surrendered before inimical forces and rendered matchless sacrifices in the war against terror.

He said there were still threats of terror acts in Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Lahore, and security had been beefed up in all the cities. Law and order situation in the KP and its merged tribal areas had significantly improved due to the sacrifices of armed forces, Frontier Constabulary and police.

Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Shaukat Ali was also present on the occasion.