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Quetta commission report violates justice: interior ministry

ISLAMABAD: In a comprehensive reply placed before the Supreme Court on Friday, the Interior Ministry dubbed the damning findings of the Quetta inquiry commission on terrorism ‘unnecessary, uncalled for and violative of natural justice’.

“These adverse remarks and observations are without any evidentiary basis,” regretted the reply submitted by senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan on behalf of the ministry. “They not only deny the fundamental rights of those affected but also have an adverse effect on the morale of the persons involved.”

On Jan 19, the court had allowed the ministry to submit its objections to the report on the Quetta terrorism incidents after the inquiry commission comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa had specifically deplored an Oct 21, 2016 meeting that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had had with Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, who heads three banned organisations — Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, Millat-i-Islamia and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ). The meeting in the Punjab House, located in Islamabad’s Red Zone, was held to hear the latter’s demands.

Examine: Thank you, Justice Isa
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The reply explained that the minister was not scheduled to meet a delegation of the ASWJ led by Maulana Ludhianvi, as was alleged by the commission.

The minister was scheduled to meet the delegation of Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC), which is not a proscribed organisation and is rather an umbrella organisation of 35 religious and political parties such as the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Sami), Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, Muslim Conference AJK, Jamaatud Dawa, Muslim League (Zia), Awami Muslim League, etc. The DPC was founded in November 2011.

According to the reply, the minister was unaware that Maulana Ludhianvi would accompany Maulana Samiul Haq since he had no prior notice of Maulana Ludhianvi’s arrival.
Nisar explains meeting with the leader of banned outfits

The meeting was requested to discuss the suspension/blocking of Computerised National Identity Cards of persons listed on Fourth Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.

Moreover, the reply emphasised, the ATA does not restrain public functionaries from meeting people on Fourth Schedule if they seek such meeting for redressal of their lawful grievances. Thus the minister did not “cavort” with any such individual, the report explained.
‘No demands met’

The reply denied that the minister conceded to the demands of the delegation; he rather informed them that the ministry was not vested with authority to revoke the citizenship of Pakistanis nor was it contemplating any action for suspension or blocking of the CNICs of persons on the Fourth Schedule.

Thus the court should expunge the adverse remarks made by the inquiry commission in its report, the ministry said, adding that war on terrorism was a national war which required unity among all institutions of the state.

Referring to the ASWJ rally held at the Hockey Ground in G-6 Aabpara on Oct 28, the report explained that granting permission or issuing a no-objection certificate to hold such rallies at public places fell within the domain of the ICT (Islamabad Capital Territory) administration and not the ministry.

Upon inquiry, the chief commissioner ICT said that the ASWJ had neither applied for the NOC nor had it been granted any, though an NOC for a rally was issued to Maulana Mohammad Tayyab Haidri, a local religious leader, to pay homage to the martyrs and express solidarity with the cause of the people of Kashmir and Palestine.

The chief commissioner pointed out that Maulana Haidri had submitted an affidavit which said he would comply with all the terms and conditions of the NOC. Conferences such as one titled Difa-i-Pakistan-wa-Istehkam-i-Pakistan are held almost every year in Islamabad since 2010, under permission of the ICT administration.

Referring to the Quetta suicide attacks, the reply said that these were a national tragedy and no words were strong enough to condemn them, adding these were not isolated acts of terrorism because since the incident of 9/11, a wave of terrorism had engulfed the world.
Procedural ‘flaws’

The ministry’s rebuttal regrettably claimed that the commission did not follow the procedure prescribed under the law and conducted its proceedings in a manner contrary to and without following the procedure for the purposes of issuing summons and process.

The commission proceeded to fix the liability without due process and without allowing the interior ministry or the minister himself to explain their positions. It did not give any show cause notice in respect of the intended findings and strictures and thus limits of Articles 4, 10-A and 25 of the Constitution, among others, were not observed. Besides, it also did not record the statements of witnesses as required under the law.

While passing certain observations, the rejoinder stated, the commission acted on electronic and social media reports as well as claims which were of no evidentiary value. Thus the finding of the commission was beyond the scope of its terms of reference, it said.

The report emphasised that every institution and every official responsible in the country, including the brave and noble Pakistan Army, the interior ministry and the minister, had worked together to eradicate terrorism and restore law and order, adding that a total of 7,522 Intelligence-Based Operations (IBOs) had been conducted across the country on account of intelligence sharing and fusion at the local levels, by the ISA (intelligence services agencies).

In addition, federal and provincial governments had spent Rs4.6 billion as compensation paid to the terrorism victims in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh besides Rs1.06bn distributed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
Seminary reform

Referring to madressahs, the rebuttal explained that though the electronic registration was not in vogue, yet mapping of madressahs had been undertaken by the federal government in collaboration with the provincial governments. Punjab and the ICT have completed 100 per cent mapping whereas the job in the remaining provinces as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Fata is near completion, it said.

At present, madressahs are registered with the provincial governments. Regular meetings are held at the Interior Ministry, National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) and ministries of religious affairs and federal education with the administrators of madressahs, particularly the Ittehad-i-Tanzeemul Madaris, to discuss matters relating to reforms and regulation.

The report said that consultations were in progress with the education ministry and Nacta for curriculum reform and board-equivalence status and the process was being steered by the minister of state for interior.

A pilot project for training madressah administration in conduct of audit of accounts has also been undertaken at Nacta in collaboration with Code Pakistan, an NGO, it said.

courtesy : dawn news

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