Powerful patrons: Crime economy nurtures Sindh top dignitaries

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

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.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Concerned Karachite
    Jun 12, 2015 - 9:20AM

    So not everything is black and white.. whats stopping the rangers, the army from taking action ?????????????Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2015 - 9:44AM

    Sir, you are not a journalist who does research and write reports, you are the law! Arrest them for God’s sake!Recommend

  • Baffled
    Jun 12, 2015 - 9:51AM

    Rangers have been in Karachi for the last 23 years.
    They must have hand in gloves in these crimes .
    Why wake up now ?
    Investigations against the Rangers should also follow trail Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2015 - 10:58AM

    It seems the state is losing steam. If it is ‘Big talk and no show,’ then we are descending into civil war and Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan will welcome us and Bangladesh will say, “See, we told you.” SCRAP THE CONSTITUTION AND BUILD A NEW ONE. Do not be afraid of sanctions, IMF, WB, ADB, etc, etc, etc. SalamsRecommend

  • Sunil
    Jun 12, 2015 - 11:09AM

    WASHINGTON: Two Pakistani-Americans were sentenced to 35 years and 20 years in prison respectively by a federal judge in Florida on Thursday in yet another instance of planned terrorism linked to a country commonly associated with the scourge.
    While handing out a sentence that was three years more than what even the prosecutors had asked for, US district judge Beth Bloom blasted brothers Raees Alam Qazi, 22, and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 32, calling them ”evil in nature and evil in your deed.”Recommend

  • Avid Democrat
    Jun 12, 2015 - 11:29AM

    The army and rangers keep on blaming the politicians for everything that is wrong in Pakistan while forgetting that the situation was no better during military rule. The result of this constant besmirching has left the institutions of Pakistan in tatters. The future of Pakistan lies in democracy and the growing pains cannot be escaped. The answer is not for the men in uniform to take charge or constantly downgrading the institutions. Military is best kept at the borders or called during an emergency. They tend to ruin everything in the end.Recommend

  • jagmohan
    Jun 12, 2015 - 11:46AM

    Such an important truthful disclosure by a top Police Officer must be enough on the
    financing of Terror and extremism related ongoing offences in various places in the
    country.Thus some relief on external financing,if happening,gives cause for increased
    local vigilance and investigation and arrest of both financiers and killers,is needed
    without any political bias,on immediate basis.It also calls for public cooperation fully,
    keeping out sectarian or other biases.People calling conspiracy theories and blame
    games,have patriotic duty to help police in the matter.Recommend

  • Jun 12, 2015 - 11:55AM

    Most Respected Sir – the nation expects some speedy actions – no use to read your reports although your every word is on fact and you are undoubtedly a sincere Pakistani. Please act now. Recommend

  • usman
    Jun 12, 2015 - 11:58AM

    Even with all the evidence , Army and rangers still takes no action ? Why because they have relationships with these elite corrupt as well.

    I dont see anything changing in Karachi .. Even the people of karachi dont want to change , as they vote for the same corrupt leaders again and again . Recommend

  • Keen Republican
    Jun 12, 2015 - 12:15PM

    @Avid Democrat. I wish you lived in Karachi and experienced for yourself ‘the growing pains of democracy’Recommend

  • adeel abbas
    Jun 12, 2015 - 1:18PM

    Mr. Bilal Akbar, what have you (Rangers) been doing for the last 21 years in Karachi? and why can’t you stop, catch, and prosecute them?

    Oh! I am sorry, you were given mandate to crush only a political party there. Its does not come under your job description to catch criminals.

    One more thing, can you also please publish of all the land grabbing and extortionist activities by the rangers too?Recommend

  • tariq
    Jun 12, 2015 - 2:16PM

    i will request to the army,rangers, & police to train pakistani citizens so that we together must eliminate these gangs who are eating this country in the name of democracy.thanksRecommend

  • AVMPolpot
    Jun 12, 2015 - 2:45PM

    ” the apex committee appreciated the suggestions from the Rangers and for detailed report decided to set up a committee which will soon start functioning.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    The hierachy of Committees: The Parliament>> the APC>> the Apex Committee>?>The Sindh Sub Apex Committeee….and so on.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jun 12, 2015 - 3:47PM

    He has said something just about everyone knows is true……..now all politicians will get together and scream ‘ democracy has been threatened.’Recommend

  • IBN E ASHFAQUE
    Jun 12, 2015 - 4:30PM

    Bilal Sahib, most of what you said is public knowledge. The real issue is that, has the army high command decided to do something about it. Rangers have been in Karachi for more than two decades and are now part of Karachi’s problem, just as the politicians, courts and law enforcement agencies are part of Karachi’s problem. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others. If army high command has the intention and competence which will be demonstrated by their actions both covert and overt and not by their statements I am all with you. However, I doubt a tiger can change its stripes.Recommend

  • Urban Legend
    Jun 12, 2015 - 6:49PM

    He hasn’t told about the Sindh Rangers and how it has been benefiting commercially in Karachi. Closed down commercial areas and have setup shadi halls, schools and all. I wont be surprised if they are not among the nexus where the extortion money and ransom revolves. Recommend

  • sincerely
    Jun 12, 2015 - 8:56PM

    What is stopping the general to name individuals or parties involved in it since he has such detailed knowledge. What he is saying is nothing new and common knowledge. If he has guts bring them to court of law and rid the city and country from evil doers but alas it is not going to happen.Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Jun 12, 2015 - 9:17PM

    @Avid Democrat:

    Do not forget that it was the political parties that called in APC after APS incident. NAP was the result of that meeting & setting up of military court was a part of same APC / NAP, which ironically is being defended by the civilian govt in SC today. Roll back of death penalty was also made under APC pressure.So, what does this speak of ? Even today out of 20 points in NAP only 10% has been implemented & 90% still need a political will, which shamelessly will not be implemented because of political compulsion. So, does this not prove the civilian govt`s & political parties inability, & capability to govern without the support of the military. This has been proved a number of times & does not need any further proof. Recommend

  • Usman
    Jun 13, 2015 - 3:49AM

    @Concerned Karachite: the lawRecommend

  • Tariq Nawaz
    Jun 13, 2015 - 4:34AM

    Mind Boggling !!!!
    Concerned agencies must take action without any loss of time.Progress should be recorded on every day basis and details provided to the press so that public should know
    the results of these actions.Recommend

  • bb
    Jun 13, 2015 - 4:43AM

    Sindh Rangers doing excellent job, I don’t know why they are sleeping enough is enough I think you have to strict action against all criminal long live Pakistan Army and Ranges zindabadRecommend

  • Avid Democrat
    Jun 13, 2015 - 7:09AM

    @ishrat salim: What you say is true. But will military rule do any better? Of course not. A rot has set in the system and that can only be fixed by strengthening institutions not breaking them down which the military always does. They only apply band-aid to a broken foot.Recommend

  • SMD
    Jun 13, 2015 - 8:40AM

    @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.Recommend

  • SMD
    Jun 13, 2015 - 8:47AM

    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?Recommend

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