ISLAMABAD: Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir admitted on Wednesday there were reports of threats to ex-prime minister Imran Khan’s life and informed the Senate Committee on Interior that 266 security personnel had been deputed for security of the PTI chairman, which was costing the government Rs20 million per month.
The IGP told the committee that the Frontier Constabulary, Rangers, Islamabad Police, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police and Gilgit-Baltistan police, personnel from two private security companies were also performing security responsibilities of the former premier. He said all security personnel were working under the Islamabad police command.
He also informed the committee that the other former prime ministers, Ch Shujaat Hussain, Yusuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had been provided security protection of five security men, each.
IGP Akbar Nasir provided these details in the form of a report, sought by Committee Chairman Moshin Aziz, who took a suo moto notice on reports of withdrawal of security from ex-PM Imran Khan.
The meeting was chaired by Moshin Aziz, and attended by Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan, and senators including Maula Bakhsh Chandio, Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, Faisal Javed, Dr Waseem Shahzad, Azam Swati, Ejaz Chaudhry, Saifullah Abro, Fauzia Arshad, Kamil Ali Agha and Dilawar Khan, besides the interior ministry officials.
The IGP told the committee that when it came to bringing the police from Punjab, “we forbade them because they were not coming as per the prescribed procedure and could become a threat to each other”.
The IGP said the issue of security of former prime ministers was important, their security issue should not be made political issue and considering the sensitivity of the matter, it should not be discussed in the media.
He told the committee that there was a procedure to provide security and agencies were also involved in the process, and all procedures were being adopted in accordance with the law and security was being provided to former PM according to the same procedure.
Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed suggested that whenever the PTI had any concerns regarding the security of Imran Khan, they should directly consult the IG Police Islamabad. Chief Commissioner Islamabad Captain (retd) Muhammad Usman told the meeting that the private security company did not comply with the rules and regulations of the Ministry of Interior and its licence had also expired. “According to the rules, every person assigned security duties must have a security clearance,” he told the committee.
The committee was told that the licences of two private security companies had been cancelled due to a minor mistake, but they were still performing their duties.
The chief commissioner said that the authority to cancel the licence rested with the Ministry of Interior. Chairman Senate’s Committee on Interior Mohsin Aziz said that Imran Khan was a world leader. He had spoken on the issue of Islamophobia all over the world, and everyone had appreciated his efforts.
He said that when Imran Khan talks about Islam, the whole Islamic world considers him as their leader. He said Imran Khan says “absolutely not” to the United States and spoke of supporting peace and avoiding wars.
The committee chairman said that the security agencies and the police themselves had said that Imran Khan’s life was in danger; so it was illegal and inappropriate to withdraw security from him in such a situation.
He questioned why the private security guards, who were performing duties with Imran Khan, were removed and the security licence of the private security agency was revoked illegally. He said that Gilgit-Baltistan security officials, who were Imran Khan’s security, were withdrawn.
Senator Moshin Aziz had invited four PTI senators on a special invitation who were not member of the committee. Senator Maula Bakhsh Chandio, Senator Azam Tarar, Senator Shahadat Awan and Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed of the ruling coalition raised objections that it was not a meeting of the PTI for which so many people had been invited.
During the meeting, harsh words were exchanged between senators from the treasury and the opposition sides, but both sides also apologised to each other later on.
Minister of State for Law and Justice Senator Shahadat Awan said that full security was being provided to former PM as per the requirement. Instead of calling a meeting, the committee chairman could have directly asked the IGP about the issue. “An hour-long meeting costs Rs15 lakh from the national exchequer,” he added.
Chairman Committee Moshin Aziz said that two days ago, a letter was written to the interior secretary for participation in the meeting. But he excused himself from participation, and even did not send any joint or deputy secretary. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was also invited eight times, but he did not come attend meeting even for single time.
Senator Ejaz Chaudhry said that it was inappropriate to withdraw the security of Imran Khan, as there were threats to his life. “There can be no more injustice than this, protocol is being given to Maryam Nawaz Sharif, but security is not being given to the former prime minister,” he added.
Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that the issue of Imran Khan’s security was sensitive and should be taken seriously as Shaheed Benazir Bhutto also had security threat and the names were also revealed. “This issue should be seen above the party affiliation,” he said.
Kamil Ali Agha said that 2,200 personnel were assigned the security of former PM Nawaz Sharif, whose annual expenditure was Rs4.5 billion.
He said that today the interior minister should have come to the committee meeting because there were allegations that Imran Khan’s private security had also been removed. “If the officials of the Ministry of Interior did not come to the committee meeting, it would give the impression that they want to kill Imran Khan,” he added.
Senator Azam Swati said that it was also said in the high court that Imran Khan’s life was in danger. “Under these circumstances, we all have to do our duty and the voice of this committee should be paid heed and Imran Khan’s security should be provided according to his personality.
“The enemies are too many and the threats to Imran Khan should be kept in mind,” he advised. Senator Maula Bakhsh Chandio said that “we are not enemies of Imran Khan’s security, and are not among those who distributed sweets on the martyrdom of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.”
Leader of the house in the Senate Azam Nazir Tarar said that there were concerns for the flood victims, but Imran Khan’s rallies were being held and abuses were being hurled. “This forum is not for discussing such matters,” he said.
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