KARACHI : Uzair Baloch’s (a notorious Lyari gangster) confessional statement and the referral of his case to a military court prodded top PPP leadership to take effective counter measures.
During background interviews, most PPP leaders termed Uzair’s statement part of ‘a victimisation campaign’ against their leaders.
Sources in the party told The Express Tribune that PPP had evolved a strategy to disown all of Uzair’s illegal activities.
Uzair Baloch deposed before a magistrate that he acted on the orders of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his step-brother Owais Muzaffar (Tappi) when he seized control of more than 14 sugar mills in Sindh.
According to him, he also forcibly vacated at least 40 flats or houses in the vicinity of Bilawal House, now owned by PPP leaders.
Recorded a year ago, his confessional statement showed how much Baloch was exploited in Karachi and in return he was given free hand in making political and administrative decisions in Lyari and adjoining areas in Karachi.
Although no PPP leader – no matter his or her stature – denied Uzair Baloch’s affiliation with the party, but insisted that his actions were his own and the party had nothing to do with it.
“The party took him on board on various issues … Otherwise, it would have been difficult for us to work in Lyari which, at that time, was dominated by (criminal) gangs. I or the party are not involved in any (criminal) activity. I have already denied my involvement,” said PPP leader Qadir Patel, who is seen accompanying Uzair Baloch in various TV clips.
Baloch had confessed that he used to recommend names of police officers to be posted in Lyari with the help of Qadir Patel and Senator Yousaf Baloch. But Patel also denied this assertion.
“I will quit politics and am ready to face consequences if anyone can prove these allegations against me,” he said.
Sources said that Asif Ali Zardari has directed all party leaders to shift all blame on Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, a former PPP leader and Sindh home minister who proudly owned Uzair as his friend.
“How can PPP MNA Faryal Talpur, a woman, ask him to dump weapons, kill people and encroach upon properties,” PPP leader Maula Bux Chandio said. According to him, Uzair Baloch’s confessional statement was part of a ‘great game’ against PPP.
“We know that something is again being cooked up behind the scenes, but we are ready to face all challenges because we are not involved in any wrongdoing,” he said.
Chandio, who also served as the federal law minister, said that the confessional statement of a suspect in custody had no legal value.
“A person in custody is forced to give a statement … This is why it turns out to be inadmissible under the law,” he said.
“During custody, people confess such statements under duress and torture. No criminal procedure accepts it as authentic,” he said.
Everyone was stunned when PPP allotted party tickets to Javeed Nagroi and Saniya Naz during the previous general elections. Both Nagroi and Naz were elected MPAs from Lyari. Before elections, both swore allegiance to Uzair Baloch. Videos to this effect are still available on social media. But Nagroi said that his nomination was secured by an elders committee of Lyari and not Uzair Baloch.
“Various stakeholders of Lyari are members of this elders committee who decided to allot ticket to us,” he said, adding that he was forced to swear allegiance otherwise gangsters would have killed him.
“I have been a PPP jiyala since my childhood. These gangsters killed my brother. I simply cannot join the ranks of criminals,” he said.
Terming Uzair Baloch’s confessional statements baseless, he insisted that he was in no way connected with criminals.