Speaking at a presser, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan admitted that a drone had struck a vehicle inside Pakistan but did not provide further details about those targeted in the strike.
He said that the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) did not violate the territorial sovereignty of the country; it rather fired missiles from outside the country most likely from Afghanistan.
“The incident took place at 3:30 pm on Saturday when the missiles hit a car carrying two men – a driver and a passenger,” he said. “The incident left the car completely destroyed and bodies charred.
The minister said we are still trying to ascertain how the passport was recovered from the scene that too in shape.
The body of the driver was later identified by his heirs and was handed over to them, he said, adding, “The dead body of Wali Muhammad, however, could not be immediately identified.”
“There is also no evidence to the claim, as of yet, that he was indeed the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour.”
Nisar said that security officials had inspected the car but could not verify the identity of the person and they will only be able to ascertain the identity of the victim when they receive the DNA report.
He said that a manual National Identity Card (NIC) of Wali Muhammad was issued in 2001 and not in 2005 as reported. He (Wali) had applied for a passport in 2005 which was later issued from Quetta that carried several visa stamps including that of Iran, Bahrain and the UAE.
Admitting corruption within National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), Nisar said he had taken strict action against it ever since he took over the office of the Interior Minister. The passport and NIC of Wali Muhammad have been cancelled and an investigation will be launched in this regard.
The minister told that Wali Muhammad had shown himself to be a resident of Killa Abdullah. His passport was verified by the DCO Hafiz Tahir and Naib Tehsildar Rafiq Tareen. “The interior secretary has been instructed to arrest and question them for verifying the passport of the Wali Muhammad,” he added.
He said that United States (US) and Afghanistan officials have confirmed that the head of the Taliban was killed in the attack, but Pakistan will only be able to confirm it after the DNA report.
He said that a special meeting of the National Security Conference (NSC) will be convened after the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returns to country, which will hold broad consultation and reach a consensus to present the case in front of the nation and the world.
Noting US statement of being on a quest to target those posing threat to it, Chaudhry Nisar questioned this analogy and said that the drone strike was against the sovereignty of Pakistan and a violation of all international laws and conventions. He lamented that the US is playing a ‘dual policy’.
Nisar questioned why the man suspected to be Mansour was targeted in Pakistan and not anywhere else as he frequently traveled. He posed a threat even when he was in Afghanistan or during his visits to Bahrain, UAE and elsewhere but he was not targeted there but, the minister argued.
He said that many involved in terrorism in the country crossed the border to seek refuge in Afghanistan, but, Pakistan does not target them as it will violate the sovereignty of Afghanistan. The terrorists pose a huge threat to our security but we do not target them in other countries, he slammed.
The minister also questioned that use of military force by the US, saying that more than 100,000 ISAF forces could not eliminate them (Taliban) in last 15 years. He said that why peace talks were being held with Taliban and their offices were being set up when they are to be targeted this way.
“Dialogue is the only way forward for peace in the region,” he asserted. “It is unfortunate that Pakistan is blamed for all the evils in the region but no one appreciates the efforts for peace undertaken by it.”
Nisar that that ‘no one had stakes in the regional peace greater than Pakistan and Afghanistan’.
He admitted that the attack had complicated problems for Pakistan as it had made efforts to bring the Taliban to negotiations table during a recent meeting of Quadrilateral Contact Group (QCG) on Afghan reconciliation process.
The interior minister disclosed that during the previous round of talks in Murree it was under consideration that Kabul should be declared a conflict-free zone. The talks were sabotaged after the news about the death of Mullah Omar broke, he recounted.