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.
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.
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.