A new charge-sheet against Zardari?
Muhammad Hassan


More details of Lyari gang war criminal Uzair Baloch's confessional statement
before a judicial magistrate last year have emerged. Being investigated
by the security agencies for anti-state activities, his disclosures may
adversely impact Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and former
president Asif Ali Zardari, who plans to win the next election and become
the prime minister of Pakistan.
In his confessional statement, Baloch said that he had forcibly gotten
vacated 30 to 40 bungalows and apartments near Bilawal House in
Karachi on the orders of Asif Ali Zardari. He also helped Zardari and his
close aide Awais Muzaffar Tappi in occupying 14 sugar mills in Sindh. In
his shocking revelations, he said the bounty on his head and criminal
cases against him were dropped after the intervention of Asif Zardari and
his sister Faryal Talpur. In another horrific disclosure, he said that he had
leaked "sensitive information" to foreign agencies.
He also told investigators that he and his wife were facing threats to
their lives from political figures, including Asif Ali Zardari, after he hadnamed them in heinous crimes. He had accepted involvement in several
charges against him in a confessional statement in front of a magistrate
last year. He also confessed that he had shared information of the armed
forces, including the then Corps Commander, the Station Commander and
the Naval Commander in Karachi, with foreign intelligence agencies. He
admitted his role in the appointment of Saeed Baloch and Nisar Morai in
the Fishermen Cooperative Society, which paid Rs2 million extortion
money to him monthly. He used his political connections for the appointment
of police officers who helped him in his criminal activities. He said
that he had used former Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza, Qadir Patel
and Yousuf Baloch of the PPP, for the appointment of police officers of his
On April 12, the Pakistan Army took Uzair Baloch into custody on
charges of espionage after nearly 15 months of his detention by different
law enforcement agencies, following his arrest in January 2016. Inter Services
Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Major General Asif Ghafoor
confirmed, via Twitter, that the army had taken him into custody for leaking
sensitive security information to foreign intelligence agencies.
It is said the Rangers had taken him into custody after his life was in
danger in jail. He has made startling disclosures about the PPP leadership
which form a serious charge-sheet against Zardari and could land him in
jail instead of his plans or dreams to become the prime minister of Pakistan.
According to sources, Uzair Baloch remained silent about his political
links, hoping against hope that the PPP leadership would come to his rescue
one day. However, when he heard about allegations of smuggling, extortion
and killings levelled by the PPP leadership against him, which also
denied having links with him in the past, it infuriated the Lyari gang war
linchpin who became ready to provide details of his crimes, committed with
the abetment of the PPP leaders, to the Rangers' investigators.
He averred that he was a smalltimer when he was patronized by former
president Asif Ali Zardari. His prime responsibility was to fight against criminals
of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain, who
extorted money from shopkeepers and wealthy people and killed them
when they refused. The MQM could paralyze Karachi, as and when it
wanted and had held the media hostage. It was backed by the Indian Research
and Intelligence Wing (RAW) and the police were helpless against
MQM. The then Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza was tasked with tackling
the miscreants. Mirza's modus operandi was to counter the MQM
goons through People's Amn (a gross misuse of the term"peace") committees.
It was the time the PPP was in power in Sindh and at the Centre. It decided
to set up a force of criminals of its own to fight criminals. It is said
Zulfiqar Mirza took Uzair to the residence of Faryal Talpur, the sister of Asif
Zardari. Then former Sindh minister Sarjeel Memon and Suhail Sayal, who
later became the Sindh home minister, also joined the force. In their own
way, they were trying to fight Muhajir aggression and perform duties as
representatives of rural Sindh. Zulfiqar Mirza, on record, boasted of providing
arms licences to over 200,000 people. "The arms are not for firing
into the air at wedding parties," he threatened the MQM openly.
It is said Benazir Bhutto had also thought on the same lines when she
launched an operation against the MQM in 1995. When she thought of
equipping her workers with weapons, she was advised by her close aides
and police officers that it could not restore peace in Karachi, rather bloodshed
would increase, as it would increase the number of armed groups in
the port city. Experts say the PPP, in fact, had no activists at the time who
could take up arms. They were simple political workers and could not be
trained to fight hardened MQM militants, who had received training in Indian
camps. However, the situation was different for Zardari and his close
aides and workers. The PML-N could not oppose his plan because the
Sharif brothers had skeletons in their own cupboards.
Under state and PPP patronage, Uzair made the lives of the people of
Karachi intol- erable. Besides two million residents of Korangi, no shopkeeper
or business person could dare refuse his demands for money in
Karachi. His network expanded and he started running drugs and
weapons. He told investigators he had helped Zardari "purchase" over
50,000 acres of land at a price of his choice. He bought him any building,
plot or agriculture land he liked at nominal rates from the owners.
His allegations are serious and need thorough investigation. He is a
classical example of the nexus of politician and criminal in Pakistan. It appears
he will be court-martialled, but his political patrons and network in
the police and other departments would remain intact. The entire network
should be uprooted to stop people like him.