Investigation still underway to ascertain whether Mullah Mansoor killed in drone attack : Nisar

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ISLAMABAD, May 24 (APP): Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday said it could not be confirmed that the person killed in drone strike in Balochistan was Afghan Taliban Chief, Mullah Mansoor as law enforcement agencies were still investigating the incident.

The victim-driver of charred vehicle was identified and his
body was handed over to the heirs, but at the moment it was not possible to confirm that the second person killed in strike was Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor.

Addressing a press conference here, Nisar said bodies of
both persons recovered from the spot were charred beyond
recognition. He said Pakistan was officially informed by the United States after seven hours about the strike and the Pakistani authorities had found a charred vehicle, two bodies and a passport from the spot.

“Mullah Mansoor is an Afghan national and Pakistan’s
government has no means to identify Afghan citizens,” said Nisar, adding that an individual has approached to claim body of the second deceased person, saying “he is a relative of Mullah Mansoor”.

The Minister said that DNA samples had been collected
and these would be tested against a relative who came forward to claim the body. So scientific means are being utilized to ascertain the identity, he said.

Interior Minister Ch. Nisar said the US drone strike targeting
Afghan Taliban leader was illegal as he was on Pakistani soil.
He said, “For the US government to say that whoever is a
threat to them will be targeted wherever they are, which is against international law. Irrespective of who was target of the attack, the government strongly condemns the drone strike.”

Nisar said Pakistani government condemns the US drone strike in Pakistan as it is also in contrast to the United Nations charter and the country’s sovereignty.

He said a strategy to cater the issue shall be made after
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s return to the country and that a meeting of National Security Council (NSC) shall also be held.

Replying to a question, he said peace in Afghanistan is
possible through dialogue.

He said it was believed that Mansoor was a hurdle in
negotiations whereas various phases of dialogue between Taliban and Afghan government were made possible and postponed with consensus that dialogue is the only solution.

He said the US drone strike would have serious implications
upon relations between the United States and Pakistan. Such actions could adversely impact ongoing efforts by Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) for facilitating peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban.

Nisar said people should acknowledge how drone strikes have decreased in the recent years.

Responding to another question, he said, For the last 40
years now, more than 3 million migrants have reached Pakistan.

Thousands of people cross the porous border on daily basis, however, “We are trying to improve the system by adopting different measures.”

Regarding the passport obtained from the area, the Interior Minister said the passport belonged to a person named Wali Muhammad. The very person had applied for manual identification card in 2001 and computerized one in 2002 whereas he applied for a passport for the first time in 2005 and got renewed in 2011-12.

Nisar said intelligence agencies gave him information about
the identity of the card holder and his Afghan identity on basis of which it was cancelled along with 24,000 others. It was also directed to cancel passports of these fake card holders.

He said his name was not forwarded by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for cancellation of his passport as there might be some flaws in the system. However, improvement had been made in recent years in NADRA and Passport Department, he added.

The country, he added, suffered heavily if there was corruption in such vital institutions.

Answering a question, he asked, “Why does a man become a threat for the US when he is in Pakistan, why he was not regarded as a threat when he was in his own or other country?” If the US policy was to be followed, there would be a law of jungle in this world, he added.

The minister said Taliban could not be brought to negotiating
table by killing their leaders. A difficult situation had
been created for Pakistan with the killing of Taliban leader,
he added.

Giving statistics related to Computerized National Identity
Cards (CNICs) that were cancelled on account of security concerns ever since he assumed office as Interior Minister, Nisar said in 2011 only 26 CNICs were cancelled, 493 in 2012, 6062 in 2013, 22,361 in 2014, 96,689 in 2015 and 111,540 CNICs during first five months of this year.

He said 614 employees of NADRA had been sacked for their
involvement in corruption while 65 were also arrested.
Similarly, he said during 2010-2012 only 361 passports were cancelled against 29,000 during last two and a half years.

Giving further details, he said Wali Muhammad had shown
himself to be a resident of Qila Abdullah. His CNIC was attested by two persons, who had now denied.

He said his passport was verified by DCO Hafiz Tahir and Naib Tehsildar Rafiq Tareen. The FIA had been instructed to arrest them or question them on which ground they had verified the passport of Wali Muhammad.

Nisar disclosed that during previous round of talks in Murree
it was under consideration that Kabul should be declared a conflict free zone but talks were sabotaged after the news about the death of Mullah Omar.

He said, “Dialogue is the only way forward for peace. No one
has bigger stakes for peace than Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
Replying to a question, Nisar said the US had not shared
any anything about the strike with Pakistan rather the latter
was informed after seven hours of the incident.