Islamabad: Pakistan has ordered a probe into alleged misuse of counter-terror funds by officials to pay hotel bills, finance foreign travel and buy gifts for relatives and foreign delegations, including from India.
"An audit is already underway on the directions of the Interior Minister. Once it is complete, then we will get to know how various departments had earlier used the funds at their disposal," Interior Ministry spokesman Danyal Gilani said.
The News daily reported this week that most of the secret fund allocated to the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) was not used for curbing terrorism and there was "massive abuse" of the allocation.
NCMC was formed in 2000 to coordinate between intelligence agencies and federal and provincial governments on national security matters.
Gilani said previous budgetary allocations will be accounted for and audited in accordance with the law.
The audit will be done in accordance with law in the shortest possible time. He assured that the law will take its course against those involved in the alleged misuse of funds.
Stern action will be taken against officials not cooperating with audit requirements, he said. A secret fund of around Rs 500 million was earmarked for NCMC and the lion`s share was spent by officials on salaries of contingent staff hired to oblige friends and relatives, The News reported.
Among other things, the funds were used to buy gifts for visiting foreign delegations, including from India.
Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik, during whose tenure the alleged misuse occurred, said in a message on Twitter that the secret fund was never under his control.
"It was and is being dealt by the authorised officers in the Ministry," he said. He also tweeted that the use of the fund to entertain dignitaries and to buy "small presents" was "routine for 15 years".