PM orders probe into IB letter

| Aftab terms memo alleging links between 37 PML-N MPs and terrorists ‘fake’

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has taken serious notice of the alleged Intelligence Bureau letter containing the names of over three dozen ruling party lawmakers purportedly having links with proscribed organisations, and directed the authorities concerned to probe the matter.

Federal Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada and other affected party MPs, mostly from southern Punjab districts, Friday held a meeting with the prime minister. Expressing their concern, they asked Abbasi to take appropriate action in this connection.

A media report had carried the said letter containing list of 37 parliamentarians of ruling PML-N, from southern and central Punjab, allegedly having connections with Diash and other terrorist outfits.

Intelligence Bureau DG Aftab Sultan, who was also present there along with the interior minister, law minster, National Assembly speaker and other officials, termed the letter “fake and fabricated”. According to him the intelligence agency had not conducted any such inquiry against those MPs.

Terming it “a conspiracy against the government”, Prime Minister Abbasi directed the officials concerned to probe the matter.

Abbasi said that an FIR has been lodged against concerned media persons because it was a fake list, and IB did not write a letter to PM office.

The IB DG said that probably someone is involved from the inside as his signature was misused, therefore, he has ordered an internal inquiry – the report of which would be shared with the PM and NA speaker.

The affected parliamentarians termed it a conspiracy against them and an effort to prove them terrorists which would badly effect on their political career too.

Religious Affairs Minister Pirzada said that their political opponents could use the letter against them and file application for their disqualification in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) or move the court against them invoking articles 62 and 63.

The prime minister assured them that the letter was baseless and unfounded. As the IB director general, which was shown on the letter as the issuing authority, had discarded it so it was of no legal value, he added.

The affected MPs demanded the prime minister to clarify their position at all relevant forums including the ECP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to remove the baseless allegation of their links with proscribed organisations.

Premier Abbasi directed the interior minister, IB DG and other relevant officials to take appropriate steps in this connection and also trace the origin of the letter and find out those behind this conspiracy.

Earlier the same day, IB DG Aftab Sultan called on Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. The parliamentarians whose names were in the list and some federal ministers were also present on the occasion.

These parliamentarians lashed out before Speaker NA and termed the letter an effort to spoil their political career. They categorically denied their connections with banned outfits and said that if IB did not satisfy them as they would table privilege motion in the House.

Pirzada on Thursday spoke against his own government on the floor of the National Assembly and even staged a walkout over this matter along with some 20 MPs. He had demanded the PM look into the matter and explain the position to save them from any adverse consequences that may follow it.

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