Taliban Interior Minister Haqqani exposed in passport scandal

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Pakistan has arrested two people for issuing Pakistani passport to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Interior Minister in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. (Photo: Reuters)

NEW DELHI, Dec 7: The News reported that Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Interior Minister in the Taliban-led Afghan government, was among thousands of Afghan nationals who possessed Pakistani passports until recently. Haqqani is identified as a ‘designated global terrorist’ and is a senior leader of the Haqqani Network, as per the American intelligence agency FBI. He was issued a Pakistani passport for five years, which he utilized for international travels, including negotiations in Qatar for the signing of the Doha Agreement, leading to the U.S. exit from Afghanistan.

Two officials involved in issuing the passport to Haqqani, one of whom had retired, were arrested, as reported. Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Pakistani passports issued to Afghan nationals have been blocked, with passport offices in cities such as Thatta, Karachi, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa found to be implicated in the irregularities.

The discovery of Haqqani holding a Pakistani passport came to light when a journalist, traveling with him to Doha, witnessed him presenting the passport at the immigration counter. Subsequent investigations traced the passport issuance back to Peshawar during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s tenure.

The issuing officer claimed to have been approached by an individual identifying as a senior intelligence officer, requesting travel documents for Haqqani. The irregularities were reported to passport authorities in August, leading to an inquiry that confirmed the wrongdoing. Both the issuing officer and the individual involved in passport production faced departmental action and were subsequently arrested.

This revelation aligns with intelligence from Saudi Arabian authorities, exposing the use of Pakistani passports by Afghan citizens seeking employment in Saudi Arabia. Over 12,000 such cases were identified, resulting in the cancellation of passports and the deportation of those using forged documents to Afghanistan. Prompted by Saudi intelligence, the government launched a comprehensive investigation, discovering 30,000 to 40,000 invalid Afghan passports. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is taking action against officials implicated in their issuance and production.

This news has been read 2104 times!

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