ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday said the narrative presented by a local English daily reporter Cyril Almeida in his report reflected of our enemy’s, ARY News reported.
“A meeting has decided that an inquiry will be held with him to figure out as to what prompted him to write a narrative which has been appreciated and used in propaganda by India. While, the reporter himself has admitted that nobody from the meeting could confirm the news,” he said while talking to media in Islamabad.
He was responding to a query regarding why was the journalist put on Exit Control List (ECL), he said had the government let him flee abroad after leaking a news, the government would have been held accountable for letting him leave the country.
Nisar said the journalist’s tweet to ‘stand by every word of my news’ worsened the situation. He said putting his name on ECL has not given the columnist a bad reputation.
“When the news could not be verified then how did the news get published? How could Dawn newspaper be our dear one when it did not publish our denial? Some other people along the journalist have been put on ECL list until the inquiry completes. Inquiry against a couple of other people in this case is also underway,” he said.
To a question about the controversial news regarding a high-level meeting published by an English daily, the interior minister said a committee has been constituted to probe this national security issue.
He said the representatives of Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors and All Pakistan Newspapers Society have been called for a meeting on Friday to discuss the matter. He said the reporter’s name was put on the ECL because he was scheduled to leave the country the very next morning, and his presence in the country was necessary for investigation.
The minister said the incorrect news provided an opportunity to enemies of Pakistan to level allegations against the country.
He said this was not an issue of army, government or media. It was a matter of our country.
The minister said he has invited senior officials of newspapers on Friday and the stance of the government would be presented before Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE).
Almeida denies recording statement regarding his news
Sources said Federal Law Minsiter Zahid Hamid contacted the journalist and requested him for cooperation. He did not just refuse for cooperation but also denied recording any statement in this regard.
This should be noted that the controversial news of the columnist is being termed as an issue of national security.
Bilawal questions existence of ECL in Pakistan
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has questioned existence of ECL in Pakistan.
He said: “Can I ask a stupid question? Why do we even have an ECL? What democratic country has the power to arbitrarily restrict freedom of movement?”
Can I ask a stupid question? Why do we even have an #ECL? What democratic country has the power to arbitrarily restrict freedom of movement?
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) October 13, 2016
Online passport renewal service for overseas Pakistanis launched
On the other hand, the government has launched online passport renewal service for the overseas Pakistanis.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the overseas Pakistanis would now be able to get their passports renewed at their residences abroad.
He said e-service would be introduced in Pakistan within six months, and it will be ensured across the country in the next two years. The e-service will help check frauds in issuance of passports besides easy renewal of passports.
The interior minsiter said the government was making efforts to provide people the best services to acquire national identity card and passport in an easy way.
He said passport offices will be established in every district of the country.
To a question, the minister said Pakistan would pursue the cases against Altaf Hussain in Britain. However, he said, the relations between Pakistan and Britain would not be affected by the matter.
“Investigation is underway regarding recovery of ammunition from a house near former headquarters of MQM, Nine Zero, and weapons’ list from house of founder of MQM.”