KARACHI: The paramilitary Rangers summoned former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza on Tuesday for questioning in alleged Lyari violence kingpin Uzair Jan Baloch’s case.
On January 30, the paramilitary force had disclosed that Baloch — the elusive, self-proclaimed don of the restive Lyari neighbourhood of Karachi — had been caught in a targeted operation in the outskirts of the city as he attempted to enter the metropolis.
The former chief of the now-defunct Peoples Aman Committee (PAC), declared a ‘most-wanted criminal’ by the provincial government, was then produced before an anti-terrorism court that ordered him into the custody of the Rangers for 90 days.
Following Baloch’s arrest, Mirza called the accused a ‘close companion’ and a ‘brother’. The estranged Pakistan Peoples Party leader has met Baloch several times and they are believed to have close ties. Mirza also claimed to have issued more than 300,000 weapon licences to the PAC during his tenure as the home minister.
“So far we have called Dr Mirza for questioning,” a senior Rangers officer told The Express Tribune. “He will be interrogated in the light of Baloch’s statements.”
According to sources, the ‘kingpin’ has made important revelations during his interrogations and named some significant political leaders, following which Mirza was summoned for questioning and his statement recorded.
While the Rangers’ investigations are under way, a joint investigation team (JIT), led by City District SSP Fida Hussain Janwari, has also been formed on the court’s orders. However, “we have yet to start working on the case,” SSP Janwari told The Express Tribune.
Baloch had fled Pakistan after the paramilitary force launched its targeted operation in Karachi in September 2013.
Following his arrest, however, the accused is reportedly willing to become an approver and expose the men pulling the strings. People close to leaders of mainstream and other political parties would be summoned when the JIT starts functioning.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2016.