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Probe against Uzair Baloch: Centre, Sindh in JIT report face-off

Top Story

July 8, 2020

Probe against Uzair Baloch: Centre, Sindh in JIT report face-off

ISLAMABAD: PTI leader and Federal Minister Ali Zaidi on Tuesday asked Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed to take suo motu notice on the Uzair Baloch’s JIT report released by the Sindh government, saying the original report had been tampered with.

Meanwhile, the Sindh govt questioned the authenticity of Ali Zaidi’s original JIT report on Uzair Baloch. The Sindh government spokesperson Murtaza Wahab claimed that Ali Zaidi had no official documents.

Earlier, PTI federal ministers Shibli Faraz and Ali Zaidi held a press conference on the recently-released Joint Investigation Team's (JIT) report on Lyari gangster Uzair Baloch. Zaidi made a passionate appeal to Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed to take suo motu notice of the Uzair Baloch’s JIT report released by the Sindh government a day earlier which, he alleged, was different from the original.

He was speaking alongside Information Minister Shibli Faraz at a press conference in Islamabad where he presented a separate report. "You are also from Karachi, you have seen how Karachi has been systematically destroyed," he said while addressing the CJP.

"The JIT reports were not being made public. It was due to our party's efforts and Ali Zaidi went to the court as well," said Faraz, accusing the parties in power in Sindh of establishing their "personal state" rather than establishing the rule of law.

"We [PTI] have come to change the country and to do that, it is necessary to implement a reward and punishment system," said Zaidi. "Thisdoes not pertain to a petty motorcycle or car theft. He [Uzair Baloch] is admitting to 198 murders," he added.

The minister said that the report, "interestingly, does not mention on whose behest Baloch carried out the murders or committed all the crimes". Reading from the JIT report, Zaidi said that Uzair had confessed that he met former chief minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah and PPP leader Faryal Talpur to have the head money on him waived off. He said that on the last page of Baloch's sworn statement, the Lyari gangster had said he feared for his life, which he believed was under threat from Zardari and other politicians.

The minister said that the Sindh government had released the Baldia factory fire JIT report on Monday "with great difficulty", saying that the report said that the "gory act of Baldia factory is a glaring example of police inefficiency".

"When Sindh Police SP Rizwan released the report, he was transferred to Shikarpur," Zaidi disclosed. "Farhan Ghani removed an honest police officer." He alleged that the Sindh government had been reluctant to release the JIT report and said that its release would prove to be harmful for the nation's security.

"Those who were making [critical] speeches in the assembly were patrons of gangsters in the JIT report," he said, taking a shot indirectly at the PPP leadership.

"Today, I am presenting the report in front of you that contains signatures on every page," said Zaidi. "Special Branch, CID, ISI, MI, IB and Pakistan Rangers' [officials] signatures are present in this report," he added.

The minister claimed that the "original" report was 43 pages long while the one released by the Sindh government was based on 35 pages. He said that the "original" report also contained the names of Dr Zulfikar Mirza, Faryal Talpur, Abdul Qadir Patel, Nisar Morai, Yousuf Baloch and Sharjeel Inam Memon, which have not been mentioned in the report released on Monday.

The minister further said that the "original" JIT report mentioned that PPP MNA Abdul Qadir Patel had tasked Baloch to murder a man who had killed his [Patel's] coordinator.

"This was all taken out from the report they [Sindh government] released," he said. "It didn’t mention why he killed that man. The original report mentions why Baloch killed him and at whose behest," he added.

Zaidi alleged that the report released by the Sindh government does not contain statements about political affiliations, extortion and other malpractices. "The original report is filed with them," he claimed.

He said that this report contained signatures of everyone except for the Sindh government. "The Sindh government has issued another JIT report," he said, adding that the document released by the provincial government contained signatures on only four pages.

"There are signatures of Uzair Baloch on every page of the JIT report that I have with me," he said. Zaidi said that he was not afraid of the PPP taking legal action against him and said that PM Imran was standing by him.

"Whatever the consequences, I am ready to face them," he said, adding that he had informed PM Imran in a meeting that he was about to take this step and the premier had assured him that he would stand by the minister.

Zaidi appealed to the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the incident under Section 184/3. "I appeal to the chief justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice on this matter," he said. "Whoever signed this report should be called to court and asked whether he signed it or not," he added.

He urged the chief justice to take notice of the incident as he was himself from Karachi and had seen how the city had been "systematically destroyed" over the years. Muhajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi's leader Afaq Ahmed also strongly reacted to the JIT report released by the Sindh government.

Afaq said that he rejected the JIT, which has made accusations against him. He said that the JIT alleged Zulfiqar Mirza met him in jail several times, however, he met with estranged PPP leader only twice. He said that he was deeply aggrieved over the allegation of taking Rs2.5 million, adding that if the JITs are authorised to pass sentences, then the courts are useless. Afaq Ahmed said the JIT was made public for "intimidation", saying that the report "holds no value".

Shortly after his press conference, the Sindh government's spokesperson Barrister Murtaza Wahab spoke to the media on the alleged findings of the report Zaidi presented and questioned where he was getting these purported official documents.

"The Sindh government said that it will make the JIT reports public and we have fulfilled that promise. We said we would present official documents and have done exactly that," said Barrister Murtaza Wahab.

Commenting on the allegations made by Zaidi on the floor of the National Assembly, he said that the minister had sworn that the reports implicated the PPP leadership. "We showed the documents with all the signatures. The official documents with all the signatures don't show any such thing."

He said that JITs, which consist of one head and several members, were formed on the directives issued by the provincial government. All members finalise a report and send it to the home department. This is an official document and signatures on the report tell us as much.

"So now the question arises that if a document does not have all the signatures, where did it come from, who gave it to them. Who was it submitted to [...] because the Sindh government didn't receive them. Who provided them to Zaidi or is he creating them. The federal minister failed to answer these questions in today's presser."

He added that contrary to Zaidi's belief, there were not multiple JITs formed. "He says there is another report with four signatures that was sent forward. Who was it sent to?" Wahab claimed that the official documents have been made public according to the Sindh government's commitment.

Murtaza further claimed: "The PPP s fault lies in trying to hold the current government accountable for its actions, in our chairman raising their shortcomings on the floor of the assembly [...] they don't take well to criticism."

Murtaza Wahab, while criticizing Ali Zaidi, said that he had lied about the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report and he had no official documents.

Murtaza Wahab termed the press conference of government ministers a waste of time. He said that they had fulfilled their promise by issuing the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) reports. He asked that who those people were who were giving these documents to the Federal Minister of Maritime Affairs. No such documents were given to the Sindh government.

The Sindh government spokesman said that in the case of Uzair Baloch, a seven-member JIT was constituted which submitted its report to the Home Department. "If I write on paper that Ali Zaidi is not mentally fit, it will be meaningless," he said. "Confirmation of mental health can only be done after a doctor's signature."

Murtaza Wahab said that the federal minister had been leveling allegations on the basis of an unsigned piece of paper. “It is not understandable that who is providing him such a report. It seems that that he is using his own laptop to prepare the JIT report,” said Barrister Murtaza Wahab while talking about federal maritime affairs minister. “It is beyond comprehension that how Ali Zaidi received such a document before its official release,” he said. He said that the Sindh government had not received any second JIT report in this case.

He said that Ali Zaidi had himself confessed that the purported JIT documents in his possession were unsigned, so the question arose who the people were providing such documents to him (the federal minister).

Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani said that former president Asif Ali Zardari was stating the same thing as being said by all of them that Uzair Baloch had nothing to do with People's Party. He said that the dinner reception being mentioned by the leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had not been hosted by Uzair Baloch, rather it was organized by the elected representatives of People's Party.

He said that the moment the PPP had come to know that the elected representatives belonging to Lyari had taken oath of allegiance to Uzair Baloch, the party had expelled Jawaid Nagori from the Sindh cabinet at that time.

He said that the MNA and MPAs of the People's Party from Lyari at that time had not adhered to any such oath of allegiance and as they had firmly stood with the PPP. He said that the ruling PTI had no ability to run the provincial governments in the two provinces of the country. He said that economy of the country had been ruined during the rule of the PTI in the country.

Sindh Information and Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said that such false statements were repeatedly being given by the federal ministers belonging to the PTI to divert attention of the general public away from the real issues of the country, including the sugar pricing scandal.