The Balochistan government has requested federal authorities to hand over custody of Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, the lone opposition member of the provincial assembly who has been detained in Islamabad, an official source said.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader was arrested from the Supreme Court premises on Thursday after he appeared before the court with a bail application against a life-sentence verdict awarded to him by an Anti-Terrorism Court.
The Balochistan home department has sent a formal letter to the chief commissioner of Islamabad requesting that Rind be handed over to the Quetta police after the court grants him bail on Monday. A police team from Quetta is due to arrive in Islamabad today in this regard.
A home department official said, however, that Rind would be sent to jail as he was sentenced to life by an Anti Terrorism Court for allegedly killing his tribal rival and relative Qaiser Khan. He had also been given a 25-year jail sentence by another court for allegedly kidnapping one Imam Din for ransom a few years ago.
Furthermore, Rind failed to appear before the courts to face the charges or to contest the case, the official added.
Official records show that the arrested MPA is an absconder in more than six criminal cases pending against him in anti-terrorism courts of the province. He is also a nominated accused in a case of the murder of 10 people, including his uncle Taj Muhammad.
“The demand for Rind’s custody is not politically motivated nor is it political victimisation, as most criminal cases against Rind were registered when he was a federal minister and a senator during former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s tenure,” the official revealed. He added, “As per the official dossier, Rind has committed most of the crimes, particularly the killing and kidnapping for ransom of his tribal rivals and close relatives.”
SC to hear bail petition on Monday
On Monday, the PML-Q leader will be presented before the Supreme Court, where his petition for bail will be entertained. Rind has maintained in his petition that he could not appear before courts in Quetta as the Balochistan chief minister was ‘after his life’ owing to a long-time tribal feud.
A large number of people from Rind’s native Sanni-Dhuran in Kachi district, who have been victim to his alleged crimes, will appear before the Supreme Court to testify against him.
Rind’s 70-year-old aunt, Mrs Mai Hani, will also appear before the court, where she said she would present a judgment of the Balochistan High Court ordering Rind to return agriculture land and property, worth million of rupees, that he forcibly took from her after her husband was killed.
“I request the chief justice to issue a directive to the Balochistan government for the implementation of the order. I will also request the apex court to put Rind on trial for murdering my husband, Taj Muhammad, and his associates,” she said.
Rind’s brother Sardar Sheer Muhammad had alleged that his brother had killed Taj along with nine others.
Meanwhile, PML-Q General Secretary Senator Syed Mushahid Hussain has said that he expects that Rind would be released on bail on Monday. On Saturday, a delegation of the PML-Q met Rind at the Secretariat police station in Islamabad to express solidarity and show support for him, Mushahid said.
He further said that Rind was a victim of political vendetta, adding that his decision to surrender proves he is a law abiding citizen of the country.
SC decision welcomed
Meanwhile, the PML-Q has welcomed the Supreme Court’s order in the Balochistan law and order case, which stated that the provincial government had lost the constitutional authority to govern the province.
“We welcome the Supreme Court decision and consider it a positive development,” Mushahid told The Express Tribune.
On the other hand, the federal government termed the court’s decision flawed, saying only the president had the right to interfere in the affairs of provinces.
The PML-Q is a coalition partner of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) at the Centre but is in opposition in Balochistan.
With additional reporting by Qamar Zaman in Islamabad
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2012.