Malik M Ashraf
Tahir-ul-Qadri, the PAT Chief addressing a press conference claimed that 300 hundred Indian agents were working in the sugar mills of Sharif family who were brought to Pakistan without fulfilling the required formalities including clearance by the agencies. He also released a list of 50 Indian nationals in this regard and said that another list of 250 would be released very soon. The most preposterous suggestion made by him was that the government of Nawaz Sharif was involved in the conspiracy to break the country acting on the nefarious designs of Indian intelligence agencies which were carrying out acts of terrorism in Balochistan. Earlier in one of his discourses he had maintained that it was Modi who orchestrated Sharif’s victory in the 2013 elections. He also termed Nawaz Sharif as a security risk for the country.
Such serious allegations against a person who has thrice been elected by the people of Pakistan as Prime Minster, cannot be taken lightly, though no sane person would tend to believe what he has said, owing to the dubious credibility of the man himself. Since his appearance on the political scheme prior to the 2013 general elections, after seven years absence from the country, he has decidedly indulged in politics of disruption. Who is pulling his strings and sponsoring this kind of fabricated allegations against Nawaz Sharif is not yet clear but the entire episode itself has trappings of a conspiracy to derail democracy? As far as his political worth is concerned, his party cannot win a single seat of the national assembly notwithstanding his small support base among the followers of his creed.
I think some action needs to be taken to stop this man from acting like a loose cannon. As far as his allegations of Indian agents working in the companies of Sharif group are concerned they have been out rightly rejected by Managing Director of Sharif Group of Industries and the spokesman of the Sharif family stating unequivocally that no Indian national ever worked in their industrial concerns. The Sharif family spokesman even dubbed him as a ‘chronic liar’ ostensibly a reference to the Lahore High Court verdict on a feigned attack on the residence of the Canada returned cleric. The family probably is also contemplating to sue him for his indiscretions.
Now coming to the issuance of visas to Indian nationals without clearance from agencies, as claimed by Qadri, it is simply out of question. I have served in Pakistani missions abroad and know that no visa to an Indian national or even those of Indian origin who have settled in other countries, is ever issued without the clearance of the security agencies of the country and it entails a long process of scrutiny. And even if the visas are issued after clearance from the agencies, they remain under constant vigilance of the agencies during their stay in Pakistan. Similar procedure is adopted by the Indian agencies in respect of the Pakistani nationals.
In regards to Indian experts coming to Pakistan to render services and expertise to industrial units operating in Pakistan, this practice is not uncommon. Several groups and even industries run by some state institutions have been utilising the services of the Indian experts, duly cleared by the agencies. Reportedly India is producing the cheapest turbines which are used in different industries in Pakistan and therefore Indian experts do visit Pakistan to help in their installation and making them operational. One must not forget that despite the perennial hostility between the two countries there is a two way trade of $ 5 billion between the two countries.
The matter needs to be thoroughly probed, particularly his allegations that the PML (N) government was involved in conspiracy to break the country. Enough is enough. His statement is tantamount to an act of subversion and needs to be dealt with accordingly. The first thing that the government should do is to put his name on the ECL and institute a probe against him through an appropriate forum asking him to prove his allegations. If he fails to prove his claims then he should be dealt under relevant law of the land.
The country is confronted with a myriad of diabolical challenges including an existentialist threat from terrorism and the hostile attitude of some of its neighbours supported by a global power, blinded by her strategic interests in the region. Under the circumstances we need complete national unity to ward off those dangers and challenges. The nation simply cannot afford the luxury of actions that promote fissiparous tendencies and undermine the credentials of an elected government. There could not be a more serious threat to the country than characterising an elected government of being a security threat to the state.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.