Nearly a week after his diatribe first shocked the nation, former Sindh senior minister Zulfiqar Mirza’s ability to surprise the country with startling admissions remains intact.
In an interview with the Express News programme ‘To the point’, Mirza appeared to admit to the government’s failure in protecting the lives of its citizens and seemed to support vigilante justice. “If somebody kills an intruder into their home, they are justified,” he said.
Mirza then went on to brag that he, in his capacity as Sindh home minister, had issued 300,000 arms licences “to allow people to protect themselves.”
Yet his most startling allegations were once again reserved for Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik, whom he once again chose to insult in rather colourful detail.
Benazir Bhutto’s assassination
Once again, Mirza’s allegations were not direct, but he implied that Malik’s negligence was at least partly to blame for the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
“Who changed the original plan to drive Benazir Bhutto in her own car? Why was she in Sherry Rehman’s car?” asked Mirza, without suggesting any concrete answers, though hinting that Malik had been negligent in providing security to the late Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson.
‘I had Rehman Dakait killed’
Perhaps one of the most startling admissions was about gang warfare in Karachi, where Mirza admitted to having ordered the extrajudicial killing of Abdur Rehman Baloch, known by his street name ‘Rehman Dakait’.
“I had Lyari killer Rehman killed,” said Mirza. He later backtracked from this admission, saying that he had ordered the arrest of Baloch, during which he was killed.
The admission, however, came in the context of a question about target killers in Karachi being affiliated with political parties. Mirza claimed initially that there were no target killers affiliated with the PPP, but then seemed to contradict himself by calling Baloch a target killer, implying that he was a PPP loyalist and then expressing grief over his death.
‘Disappointed’ with the president
After nearly a week of fiery speeches against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Rehman Malik, Mirza finally said that he was disappointed in President Asif Ali Zardari, even as he continued to call himself a loyal friend of the president.
“I am very disappointed in President Zardari,” he said.
He suggested that the president, as well as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, had made a mistake in allowing Rehman Malik to become interior minister. “The interior minister is supposed to serve as the president’s eyes and ears in the country,” he said. “Appointing Malik to that post was a serious misjudgement.”
Exonerated on all charges
Mirza admitted to having faced at least six different criminal charges, though he boasted that he had been exonerated on all counts and had been acquitted without any assistance from the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance promulgated by former president Mursharraf that dropped charges against politicians from several parties.
He even claimed that he was exonerated on some charges before the PPP government came into office.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2011.