ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Tuesday the “issue of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder” had become a roadblock in relations with the United Kingdom.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd holds joint press conference with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
Speaking at a press conference with the visiting British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, after holding a meeting with her, the minister said the UK had a different perception about Altaf Hussain from Pakistan and that had become an irritant in bilateral relations.
The minister said there were no serious problems between the two countries, but there were a few irritants which both sides were trying to resolve. He said Pakistan wanted legal and diplomatic solution to all hurdles in the way of better relations between the two countries.
British home secretary says her govt is considering Pakistan’s requests about MQM founder
He said a range of issues, including terrorism, immigration and organised crime, had been discussed during meetings with the UK home secretary. An agreement on immigration has been inked, besides a memorandum of understanding to identify areas of cooperation between Pakistan and the UK.
He said the two sides had decided to hold ministerial meetings on an annual basis to discuss matters ranging from security and counterterrorism to narcotics, immigration and organised crime and to share information.
Chaudhry Nisar lauded the proactive leadership of British Prime Minister Theresa May and said Pakistan was looking forward to her visit in near future.
Ms Rudd said police and prosecution decisions were independent in her country. She said the UK government would ensure that its police and Crown Prosecution Service were implementing relevant laws with regard to the cases against Altaf Hussain.
However, she did not reply directly to a question about the perception that Mr Hussain was living under the protective cover of British secret services and establishment. She confirmed that the interior minister, during the meeting with her, had conveyed his concerns about the MQM chief.
Ms Rudd said the issue of Mr Hussain was being reviewed seriously and requests received from Pakistan [about the MQM founder] were also being considered. She said there were no exemptions in the British law and added that action on the requests would be taken without any discrimination.
She said both sides, during the talks, agreed to work together to enhance their relationship in a host of areas. “Both countries have worked together to tackle challenges in terrorism, extremism and organised crime, but there is more that remains to be done.”
She said they discussed issues related to security, immigration and justice.
She said the special envoy of the British prime minister on counterterrorism would be visiting Pakistan shortly to expand cooperation between the two countries in the context of Pakistan’s National Action Plan. “I hope this will include further work on building safer cities here.”
She said she wanted to see closer cooperation on extradition (of criminals) and mutual legal assistance to ensure that there was no escape from justice in either country.
Ms Rudd said the UK had unique ties with Pakistan as two per cent of its population traced their roots back to Pakistan.
“I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of the interior minister and Pakistani police and armed forces in delivering significant improvement in security across Pakistan over the last two years,” she said.
However, she said the challenge was still considerable and the UK and Pakistan should work together for increased security for their peoples. “This is important as a number of British nationals want to trade and invest in Pakistan,” she added.
Referring to the challenge of terrorism and extremism, she said Pakistan had suffered the most from the scourge of terrorism.
Ms Rudd said Britain was providing assistance to make Islamabad International Airport safe and secure for travellers.