Powerful patrons: Crime economy nurtures Sindh top dignitaries

DG Rangers tells apex committee terrorism and illegal rackets generate over Rs230b a year.


APP June 12, 2015
Maj Gen Bilal Akbar. pHOTO: fILE

KARACHI:


An evil nexus of political leaders, civil servants and gang lords is involved in nurturing and sheltering organised crime and terrorism in Karachi, according to the director general of Sindh Rangers.


Billions of rupees collected from extortion, land grabbing, targeted killings and rackets are flowing in to the coffers of some top personalities of the Sindh province, DG Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar said in a briefing to the apex committee held the other day.

The report put the volume of crime economy at over Rs230 billion a year, according to a press release of Pakistan Rangers issued on Thursday.

While the DG Rangers suggested elimination of terrorist networks for a peaceful city, the apex committee proposed setting up a committee to look into the proposal.

He said that besides heinous crimes, well organised networks were running illegal marriage halls, illegal parking, match fixing and beggar mafias.

The funds from terrorist activities are distributed among the various factions of the criminal gangs of Lyari besides corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, he revealed.



Even funds collected in the name of religious obligations like Zakat and Fitrana the hides of sacrificial animals are used in purchase of illicit weapons and maintaining armed groups, the DG said. The funds from these sources run into billions of rupees.

Political parties, city district government, district administration, construction companies, estate agents and police officials are among the land grabbing mafia, he said according to the press release.

The statement said that all these work in a coordinated manner and most of them are patronised by a big political party of Karachi while other political leaders and builders are also involved in this racket.

It said that the money obtained illegally from the Karachi Fish Harbour is distributed among criminal gangs of Lyari and some influential personalities of Sindh. The amount extorted from small markets, roadside vendors, graveyards and schools also runs into billions of rupees.

China cutting

It was further pointed out that china cutting has emerged as a new trend which means illegally selling out green belts and service lanes in shape of small plots. Land grabbing and china cutting can be divided into three parts: construction on government land, encroachment on government land and private properties.

Included in this land grabbing mafia are political parties, city district government, construction companies, estate agents and police officials. They work under a coordinated system and most of them are patronised by a big political party of Karachi while other political leaders and builders are also involved in this racket.

Iranian diesel

The money obtained from the smuggling of Iranian diesel is also an important source of funding for terrorism and crime. The money is used for raising private armies of political groups in Sindh and of the landlords. In this illegal business, influential persons of Sindh are involved and they regularly get portions of money obtained from diesel smuggling.

Water is another source of income for gangsters. Illegal supply of water is also a billion rupee business in the city.

In the previous eras, various governments devised the system of ghost employees and the salaries obtained from these accounts are distributed monthly among a well organised racket of political leaders and civil servants. Such black money is used for promoting other crimes and terrorism.

According to an estimate, Rs230 billion annually is obtained through various illegal means which is a loss to the national exchequer and put the citizens to untold suffering.

The press release further said that Pakistan Rangers Sindh’s operation is continuing against terrorism, target killings and other crimes. The elimination of terror networking is also essential for laying the foundation for durable peace in the metropolis and in the country. The press release said that the apex committee appreciated the suggestions from the Rangers and for detailed report decided to set up a committee which will soon start functioning.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2015.

COMMENTS (24)

SMD | 6 years ago | Reply There was a time when a General / Chief Executive use to say that MQM is not a criminal party and even to the lower ranks we heard the rhetoric no they should be given a chance and bla bla bla. and now it seems that even if sewage line burst it is on direct orders from 90. lets for once agree that politicians are shrewd and bureaucracy is corrupt but are the two not used by Army in past to extend its rule in power? Why it took them 23 years to discover the financial issue behind Karachi situation and how many culprits have been dinning with the influential, and why the barriers are still placed at Rangers installations? calling spade a spade will take much courage, those nabbed from 90 few weeks back have been found not guilty, but would inform the audience the famous duo caught from airport returning from Srilanka under whose custody they are currently and why has it taken ages?
SMD | 6 years ago | Reply @jagmohan: do you not have financial details of chota rajan, modi's brothers in Gujarat, easy to bash Pakistan than to look in mirror. read following and amuse, no wonder why Bollywood is flourishing: Mr. Dutt’s high-profile case is just the latest example of the tight links between Bollywood, India’s film industry, and Mumbai’s notorious underworld. While ganglords allegedly finance Bollywood blockbuster movies and use the film industry to launder black money, Bollywood actors have complained openly of receiving threats from underworld gangsters. Bollywood’s connection to the underworld can be traced back to a government regulation that made the film industry ineligible for bank credit, private equity and other legitimate commercial financing. “As a result, films were financed by ad hoc collections of investors, many of whom were from the construction and trade industries, who charged interest rates as high as 60 to 100 percent,” said Jehil Thakkar, head of media and entertainment for KPMG. In 2000, the Indian film industry was added to the list of industries recognized by the government and eligible for bank financing, a move that theoretically should have helped cut its dependence on the underworld. In 2011, a leaked cable issued by the U.S. consulate in Mumbai, released by Wikileaks, spoke of the film industries’ connection to the underworld. “The industry also welcomed funds from gangsters and politicians, looking for ways to launder their ill-gotten gains, known in India as ’black money,’ said the cable. “After the government added the film industry to the list of legitimate industries, the corporatization of Bollywood – and the wider entertainment industry – began.” Gangsters, not surprisingly, enjoy flaunting their Bollywood connections, which serve as a signal of their power in a star-struck nation. Dawood Ibrahim, Mumbai’s top gangster, who moved to Dubai, famously invited Bollywood actors to his parties in Dubai and Sharjah. Whether the film stars attended because they were pressured to or as a matter of choice remains left to speculation.
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