A police report, sent to Punjab Police inspector general and the chief minister, claims that MPA Rana Shoaib Idrees, accused recently of leading an attack on a police station to free two proclaimed offenders arrested from his dera, has an extensive criminal record.
“Idrees has a history of patronising murderers, proclaimed offenders, drug peddlers and extorting money from transporters and traders,” the report said.
The report says Khurarianwala police had arrested two proclaimed offenders, Muhammad Iqbal and Iftikhar Ahmad, and the MPAs gunman Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on July 19. It says, “Idrees and his 25 to 30 accomplices forced their way into the Khurarianwala police station. They slapped SHO Khalid Pervaiz, abused him and threatened him; beat up ASI Riyasat Ali, breaking three of his teeth and freed the three men. His supporters, it says, then staged a demonstration in front of the police station and blocked the Sheikhupura-Faisalabad Road.
The report says Idrees, elected on a PML-N ticket in the 2013, had inherited his father’s transport business.
The report makes the following specific assertions: In 2011, one, Muhammad Binyameen, was killed after he refused to pay protection money to Idrees. When Idrees was elected MPA, he forced Binyameen’s family to leave the area.
“Iftikhar Ahmad, one of the people the MPA freed from the police station on July 19, was nominated in the Binyameen murder case. He was declared a proclaimed offender and the government had fixed a Rs100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. He later became Idrees’s gunman. On July 17, 2013, Ahmad shot and injured one, Shehzad, at Khurarianwala wagon stand for refusing to pay extortion money. Shehzad’s family was unable to file a complaint with police. On July 19, 2013, Idrees and his 11 accomplices, attacked Jajji group following a dispute over Jhumra wagon stand. One, Noor Ahmad, was killed in the clash and one, Muhammad Afzal, was injured.
A complaint filed by Ahmad’s family was withdrawn, when Idrees paid Rs1.8 million compensation.
Idrees is also accused of charging Rs50 from every wagon/bus leaving Khuraranwala for Shahkot, Jaranwala, Chak Jhumra and Faisalabad.
The report says his henchmen, Rafiq Qureshi, is collecting Rs50 from every fruit and vegetable vendor. Idrees, it says, receives Rs15,000 a day from the extortion operation.
It says Idrees is also getting Rs400,000 a month form four textile mills in Khurarianwala Industrial Sector and Rs40,000 to 50,000 from each of their contractors. One, Shabbir Qureshi, it says, openly sells drugs in the area with his backing. He also supplies liquor for the MPA’s farmhouse.
MPA denies allegations:
Talking to The Express Tribune over the phone from an undisclosed location, Idrees denied the allegations.
He said police had turned against him because he was a vocal critic of their performance.
“I always take up the complaints of the poor people against police and raise my voice against their atrocities. This is why they are trying to implicate me in false cases,” Idrees said. The MPA said while some criminal cases had been registered against him, he had never been convicted by any court. “I challenge police to prove any of the allegations that they have levelled against me in a court of law,” he said. Idrees strongly denied claims that he had attacked the police station or beat up policemen. Referring to extortion claims, he said Rs50 were being taken from public transport because for using his stand. To a question about the murder charges against his gunman, Idrees said he was not aware of his criminal background earlier.
The MPA also denied allegations of receiving extortion money from textile mills.
When contacted, SHO Khalid Pervaiz said they were earlier unaware of Shabbir Qureshi’s narcotics business and would now take action against him.
To another question, Pervaiz said they had not registered any case in Binyameen’s death because his family had not lodged any complaint.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.