KARACHI: While talking to the media in Karachi, the Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmed Rasheed admitted that inflation was a problem for the incumbent government but reassured the public that the government would soon bring its Ramzan utility package. 

Commenting on the Imran Khan government’s performance, he said that Pakistan’s foreign policy is performing much better now. Pakistan is playing a historical role in Afghanistan while maintaining great relations with America and China.

While commenting on Jehangir Tareen potentially allying himself with the opposition, the minister said that he does not see Imran Khan gaining successes not just these 5 years. Still, even next election, the incumbent prime minister and his party will perform well. 

Commenting on the opposition in response to a question by a reporter, the minister said, “PPP is taking a positive step, but the PMLN, however, is creating difficulties for itself. The kind of language they [PMLN] used for the Pakistan Army is unacceptable. They were raised at GHQ gate number 4. Zardari has his cards close to his chest, and he is playing well.” 

He further informed the media that he would not be able to comment on the controversial sugar case as that is sensitive information. SAPM Shehzad Akbar is currently supervising the cases; hence, he does not have adequate information to inform the media. 

Talking about his ministry’s performance, he said that the airport and immigration systems are being improved. As of now, 300,000 e-visas have been issued, whereas only 12,000 e-visa applications were rejected. “192 countries will get visas within 30 days for Pakistan as Imran Khan wants to improve tourism,” he said.  

He also updated the media on the performance on the task of making passports more accessible to a larger number of the population, “Passport fee has been reduced by half and now it would be valid for 10 years. Furthermore, an e-Passport project is being started, and the government is in talks with a German company and might share news on the project in June. This massive restructuring for visas and passports would also mean that those officers who have been sitting all around the world for the last 12 years would be recalled. The issue of NADRA chairman will also be decided by the cabinet soon.” 

In response to whether his ministry had added new names to the Exit Control List (ECL), he responded that he did not add anyone to the list. “Two people Forough Naseem and I have to sign to put a name into the ECL, and then the cabinet needs to approve it. We have not added anyone to ECL; if FIA has added someone to the Provisional National Identification List (PNIL), then I have nothing to do with it,” Rasheed said.

Upon forgetting the abbreviation for the PNIL and subsequently being reminded by a journalist, the minister broke into a smile and, on a lighter note, said to the journalist, “I love you, you are one educated man, thank you [for reminding].” 

The minister concluded by saying that if Nawaz Sharif wants to come to Pakistan, the interior ministry will issue a travel document within 24 hours.


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