The Ministry of Interior-as the name suggests- is charged with maintaining the internal affairs of a country and as in all federations the federal ministry of interior is responsible for keeping order in all of the country as a whole. Thus, the job requires a competent person who would take the task seriously and is genuinely sincere in performing their role as the federal minister of interior of Pakistan. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, seldom have we been blessed with an interior minister who took their job seriously. Instead we have had the grim philosophers like Ch. Nisar who think that conducting long and dull press conferences and giving philosophical statements on power and responsibility were his only duties as the interior minister and always tried to present himself as the lone hero holding off the storm of “invisible” hordes of enemies rushing towards the country, of course without providing any details or clarity about it whatsoever.
Then there is the newly appointed disillusioned and innocently-unaware interior minister Ahsan Iqbal who doesn’t even know what the portfolio of this post includes and what is not included. In a recent question answers session in the senate, Ahsan Iqbal ducked and weaved like a professional boxer; ignoring most of the queries and pleading ignorance to others. The ones that he answered, he did to divest himself of responsibility. According to our new Interior Minister, it is not the job of the federal government to keep an eye out for banned groups and to act against them – it is the job of the provincial governments. The honorable minister probably does not know that he is also the head of FIA and a dozen other law enforcement agencies operating in various layers of security apparatus of the country.
This may sound cliché but Pakistan is indeed in a very sensitive situation in terms of law enforcement and interior security infrastructure. The war on terror is nowhere its end and the terrorists seem to be able to operate anywhere in the country on will. This is of course the duty of federal interior minister to coordinate with provincial governments and chalk out a comprehensive security plan although the provinces cannot be abolished of this responsibility but the federation has a bigger stake in keeping the house in order. Such a plan does exist in form of National Action Plan (NAP) but without proper implementation, the plan is as good as the diet water. What is needed is a proactive interior minister who understands the true responsibility of this post and takes immediate action of implementing NAP in its actual sense. That is the only way to redeem the much maligned office of interior minister.