ISLAMABAD - Former interior minister and senior leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Rehman Malik has said that militant organisation — Daesh or Islamic State, and India’s ultra-right paramilitary volunteer organisation — Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), pose a serious threat to the peace of South Asia .

In an exclusive interview with The Nation and Nawa-i-Waqt on the occasion of Eidul Fitr, the bureaucrat-turned-politician said that militants of Daesh were getting training in India and Afghanistan to destabilise the region. “The nexus of Daesh and RSS would prove fatal for the region,” he said adding that South Asia was now going to become another trouble point for the world.

While using self-coined term Daesh-ism and RSS-ism for both the organizations respectively, he said that their nexus first kick started a conflict between Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka following terrorist attacks there. Now both these outfits waned to shift this clash to India only to victimize Muslim minority there. He reminded that IS itself had claimed responsibility for Sri Lankan attacks.

Giving a reference of his upcoming book, Daesh—ISIS—Rising Monster World Wide, the opposition party lawmaker said that his piece of writing explained the role of the organization in destabilization of world peace. He claimed that Daesh chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi had been living in Turkey earlier and now he was based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province. “The two districts of the province are under his command,” he said adding that China and Pakistan and China need to be worried on that situation.

“I am seeing terrorists activating after Eid and thus terrorism incidents would increase,” he predicted.

Senator Malik said that after the election of Narendra Modi as Indian Prime Minister for the second term, Pakistan would have to review its foreign policy as “he did not see any melting of ice” between both the countries under the Modi’s regime. “I am seeing more freezing of ice after this.” He said that it was unfortunate that Modi did not invite Prime Minister Imran Khan to his oath taking ceremony.

He stressed that extremism was on the rise in India after the victory of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019 general elections with the support of RSS. “It is regretful that those involved in 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing have been elected and now they would be visible in the cabinet of Modi,” he said. He said that Modi would succumb to RSS and he would do whatever the Hindu nationalist group wants.

RSS, a Hindu umbrella group in India, is considered as the ideological inspiration for PM Modi’s rightwing BJP and it advocates and promotes a Hindu nationalistic agenda under the banner of “Hindutva”.

Senator Rehman Malik, who is also the Chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Interior, said that Modi and RSS both wanted to change the status of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and build a Hindu temple at the place where 16th-century Babri Mosque was demolished in district Uttar Pradesh of India in 1992. He said that Muslims would not get their due share in power under Modi government.

The former interior minister alleged that Narendra Modi was behind the Pulwama attack in IOK and added that he also told a lie about making surgical strikes in Pakistan only to get anti-Pakistan sentiment for his election campaign. He said that Modi wanted to take India on the verge of dictatorship.

He warned India and said that it should stop using water from Pakistan’s shares, and avoid intervening in the two provinces of Pakistan. “We know where India is funding to destabilize Pakistan,” he said and added: “I demand from Modi to stop committing atrocities in IOK and sit with Pakistan to get Kashmir issue resolved.” He also demanded that an international war crime commission should be formed to investigate Modi on charges of war crime. “Modi is not only the butcher of Gujrat but also of the butcher of Kashmir.”

On the Samjhauta Express bombing, he said that two Pakistanis were still in the custody of India and it wanted to get statement of its own choice from Rana Shaukat — a Pakistani eyewitness in the case. He said that the victim families of missing persons in the blast have moved two applications for registration of separate cases in Sargodha and Hafiz Abad districts. We will send the statements of eyewitness and other victim families to India and would get form a commission in this connection. “I want to give a clear message to India that we will not let loose this train bombing case,” he said adding that Indian army and its intelligence agency—RAW—were behind this bombing that killed 69 people including more than 42 Pakistanis.

Senator Malik, who in the past had also served as additional director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), ruled out any possibility of war between US and Iran amid ongoing tensions between the two countries. “I am sure that a backdoor diplomacy might be underway between the two arch rivals.”

The chairman interior committee said that efforts were under way to attack China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project, sometime by bringing marriages scandal of Chinese with Pakistani girls and some time through other means. “RAW and intelligence agencies of west are working on a plan to undermine the project.” He without naming anyone said that a country wanted that CPEC and Gwadar Port projects should not go in the right direction. “Iran was also mislead.”

The Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav also had a mandate to destabilize CPEC. He without naming any group claimed some Sunni and Shia leaders also worked against CPEC. “China is the part of Pakistan’s protection group and we have to look into this matter seriously,” he said adding that Russian and two other countries would also be part of this group.

Responding to a question on the on-going US-Taliban talks with Pakistan playing the role of facilitator, he said that any agreement would have an impact on Pakistan. “My assessment is that US will not pull out from Afghanistan and it wanted make Taliban part of government in Kabul.” He said that that they would have to understand that who made Taliban, Al-Qaeda and IS.

The senator lamented that Muslims all over the world were victims of this terrorism, “Why terrorism is only in Muslim countries,” he questioned and answered in the same breath that this was because of a well-thought out plan. He also said that UN should be shut down because it has become a tool to promote interests of the west. “I had once proposed to form a Muslim army.”

About the fake accounts case his party leadership including former president Asif Ali Zardari is facing before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), he said that Zardari business group was facing allegation of only Rs 30 million out of the scandal of worth billions of rupees. “If private firms have opened benami accounts, how they can be connected with the Zardari Group,” he said.

“There is a character assassination going on against the party leadership in this case,” he said. He viewed that the party should file a defamation case in this connection. He also advised media to show responsibility while covering such cases. “Media itself becomes investigator, prosecutor and the judge.”

He argued that he as former investigation officer could say that it was not a case of money laundering framed against its leadership. If money laundering is committed, proceeds of crime is always involved in it, he said and questioned where the proceeds of crime in the case was? On one side, Pakistan claims before Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering watchdog, that it is not involved in money laundering; on other side, our anti-corruption agencies frame such cases only for embarrassment for us at international front, he said.

On the recent meeting among leadership of opposition parties leadership and their plans to start an anti-government movement after Eid, Senator Malik said that PPP had a clear stance that it stood by democracy. He said that PM Imran Khan should sit with all parliamentary parties to steer the country out of the present crisis. PM should summon a joint sitting and take the parliament into confidence over all problems. The way ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was dealing with parliament would not work, he said and claimed that masses were angry over “bad” performance of government. “They should create an atmosphere of collective unity. The government should set its objectives and make pragmatic policies.”

Talking about the implementation of National Action Plan against terrorism, Rehman Malik said that the incumbent PTI and last Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz governments failed to implement its 20 points. He said that PM Imran Khan in a joint sitting to the parliament should explain its economic and national security policies to give a way forward.

About the activities of proscribed organization, he said that he had moved a bill in the parliament seeking minimum and maximum punishments for those organizations and individuals violating proscription orders. “Earlier, there is no punishment in the law for such violations,” he said. About the fate of military courts, he said that government was so far unmoved on the matter.

Commenting on the filing of reference by the government against two judges of the superior judiciary, he said, “I as former officer of FIA would say that a prior permission from the Supreme Judicial Council has to be taken before opening any inquiry against a judge. “The government never sought such permission in the instant case.”

He lamented that the Eid has brought the message inflation for the countrymen under the PTI rule. I don’t see any positive change in first nine months of this government, he opined. “The government contrary its claims approached the International Monetary Fund and did not take serious the CPEC project,” he said.

The government should decrease prices of gas, electricity and petroleum products, he demanded. He showed his concerns over the recent devaluation of rupee against dollar. He criticized that the government did not take the required steps to increase the growth rate. He said that the next budget should focus to provide relief to poor.

Rehman Malik said that he was going to suggest a law that any private conversation on social media between two persons should not be made public unless permission by a court of law. There are 20,000 complaints of cyber crime pending with FIA and the staff dealing with such cases was very low in number. There is need to further work to decrease increasing cyber crime and to improve cyber security in the country, he said.

On the rising child abuse cases in the country, Rehman Malik said that Senate Interior Committee had taken up many such cases. “But the rise in child abuse cases including Zainab case and 10-year old Farishta case clearly reflects that there was some lacuna in the law,” he said. He referring to a government report said that 18000 child abuse cases have been reported only in four years. “In my personal capacity, I had suggested for a public hanging in these cases,” he said adding that it was high time to bring a new law to prevent child abuses.