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National

October 12, 2018

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Uzair Baloch, Baldia factory fire: SHC directs AAG to find out if JITs’ probe part of prosecution cases in trial court

KARACHI : The Sindh High Court on Wednesday directed additional advocate general to ascertain as whether the joint Investigation Team’s probe into the activities of Lyari gangster Uzair Baloch, former chairman of Fishermen Cooperative Society Dr Nisar Morai and Baldia factory fire are part of the prosecution cases before the trial court or not.

The SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro raised the query to settle the maintainability of the petition filed by PTI leader Syed Ali Haider Zaidi. The court directed the law officer to submit the report and adjourned the hearing till October 19. The PTI leader Syed Ali Haider Zaidi had submitted in the petition that startling disclosures were made in the JIT reports about the alleged involvement of politicians in murders and extortion.

Zaidi said he tried to obtain copies of the inquiry reports from the relevant quarters to make them public, but to no avail, Uzair Baloch was tried by a military court under charges of espionage for the Iranian intelligence agencies, and had confessed to his association with the Pakistan Peoples Party’s central leadership, including its women wing leader Faryal Talpur, said Zaidi. He added that Uzair Baloch admitted to paying extortion money received from different quarters to Faryal. Besides, he also confessed to killing several people on the directives of the PPP leadership and facilitating them by having private properties vacated by threatening the property owners.

Invoking Article 19-A of the constitution, the PTI leader asserted that the provincial and federal governments’ failure to publish such JIT reports is a violation of the citizens’ right to information. Zaidi further maintained that the content of JIT reports is of public importance as it relates to crimes that have far reaching implications for the public.

Further making the party’s case for disclosure of the reports, he mentioned that the print and electronic media, have reported on the JITs obtaining evidence suggesting involvement of various politicians in serious crimes and said it is imperative that such persons are held accountable for their actions.

Zaidi added that disclosure of the reports is important as there are allegations against the state machinery being utilised to commit and cover up the crimes.

The “people have the right to know if public resources were used for such activities,” the PTI official stated. “The very purpose of constituting the JITs, i.e. to uncover the truth of these crimes, stands defeated if the reports are to be kept secret.” Zaidi maintained that the JIT reports are required to be made public under provisions of the Sindh Transparency and Right to Information Act, 2011. The families of those who fell victim to the Lyari gang-war, whose loved ones perished in the Baldia factory fire and other crimes, deserve justice and must know about the identity of the perpetrators of these crimes, he added.

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