ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Monday said that Pakistan deployed more security for the New Zealand cricket team than the entire forces of New Zealand.

Addressing a press conference, he said that for the first time in the country's history army was deployed for the security of New Zealand cricket team. The decision to deploy army for the security of New Zealand cricket team was taken by the cabinet and not by the Ministry of Interior, he said.

He said that New Zealand does not have as many security personnel as the number we provided for security to their cricket team. It was the government's responsibility to provide proper security to New Zealand cricket team, he said. The minister asked people not to lose hope and said that a day will come when all cricket teams will come to Pakistan to play matches.

Regarding opposition parties' criticism on the government following pulling out of New Zealand cricket team of Pakistan tour, he said that the opposition should not throw stones at the government and the Ministry of Interior, while living in a glass house, and urged them to talk with the government over electronic voting machines (EVMs). After every election they level allegations of rigging, he said. He said that Pakistan is an important country of the region and efforts are being made for its security and prosperity. He added India is resorting to propaganda against Pakistan following failure of its machinations in Afghanistan. Pakistan wants to have better relations with the whole world, he said.

To a question, he said that the sacrifices made by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism to restore peace should be respected. He said that Pakistan has evacuated 16,000 people from Afghanistan including diplomats, NATO forces, IMF, and World Bank employees. As many as 4,000 people have returned to Afghanistan through Torkham and Chaman border, he said.

Rashid said that Pakistan want peace in Afghanistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan has clearly stated in Tajikistan that he will make efforts for making an inclusive government in Afghanistan. He said that the borders of Pakistan are safe and secured. Pakistan has neither established any "Mohajir camp" nor has received new refugees from Afghanistan, adding that Pakistan wants return of three million Afghan refugees to their homeland after the return of stability there.

About security for Chelum of martyrs of Karbala, he said that it has been decided personnel of Pakistan army and Rangers will be deployed as per the requirement of the provinces in aid of civil armed forces. Mobile phone service will be suspended following the request of the provinces, he said.

The minister said that in the capital city there are as many as 511 seminaries and 1,000 mosques. "Out of 511, we have issues with only one- Lal Masjid- which we want to resolve through dialogue," he said, adding that the district administration and the police are in contact with the management of Lal Masjid and holding dialogue with them whenever any issue arises.

He said that there were several FIRs against Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid but the government wanted the situation in the capital to remain normal due to which we continue dialogue with them, adding that Maulana Abdul Aziz had an issue every other day.

At their protest movement we want to resolve issues with Maulana Aziz through dialogue, he said, adding that if anyone tried to take law into their hand then law will take its course.

Without naming the organisation, the minister said that the government had made such efforts with another religious organisation but the result of that was not a good one. We want to resolve issues through dialogue as the government wanted the situation to be normal, he said.

He further said that according to census, election will be held on 100 wards instead of 50 wards.

The killer of a journalist/blogger namely Bilal has been arrested and police produce him before the court for obtaining remand, he said. He said that those who possess dual passports and identity cards are being given time till October 31 to withdraw the additional documents.

The Ministry of Interior will forward a summary to the cabinet in this regard, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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