KARACHI: Hours before the return of former president and Pakistan Peoples Party’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari from his self-imposed exile on Friday, the Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, conducted back-to-back raids on the business offices of “his close friend” and claimed to have seized illegal arms and arrested five suspects.
In a strong reaction, the Sindh government of the PPP described the paramilitary force’s move as “revengeful”.
A Rangers’ statement did not identify the businessman and only gave details of the arrests and the search of the two offices of a private company.
“The Pakistan Rangers, on credible reports about the involvement of a company in illegal arms and financial assistance to miscreants, raided its two offices on I. I. Chundrigar Road and Hockey Stadium,” said the statement. “During the raids five suspects were arrested while arms and ammunition were also recovered which were concealed in secret boxes.”
It identified the suspects as Shahzad Shahid, Rajab Ali Rajpar, Ajmal Khan, Kamran Munir Ansari and Kashif Hussain Shah.
According to the Rangers’ statement, 17 AK-47 assault rifles, 329 ammunitions of different types, nine ball bombs and four pistols were seized from the two offices.
Five picked up, arms and documents seized during the action called by PPP as revengeful
They also claimed to have seized some “crucial documents” during the raids and vowed to move against the business-owner in line with the defined laws.
The Rangers and senior officials of other law-enforcement agencies remained tight-lipped about the identity of the businessman who owns the company and so did the PPP leaders.
“Today’s actions [by the Rangers] seem revengeful moves,” Adviser to the Sindh chief minister on information Maula Bux Chandio told reporters outside Bilawal House where Mr Zardari is staying.
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“I think the way Mr Zardari was welcomed by an ocean of people…it has caused displeasure to certain elements. We are thankful to Allah that he’s back and among us but sorry to say that neither the Sindh government nor the police were taken into confidence about today’s moves despite the fact that we never put any hurdle in [the way of] such actions.”
He said the raids could nullify the impression that there was harmony among the institutions, which is a hard-earned achievement of the PPP government.
“If a person is criminal, arrest him,” said Mr Chandio. “We have never resisted and never raised objection but the actions and timing always reflect the motive behind them. So it would be very unfortunate that a negative impression emerges from such episodes,” he added.
Omni group’s view
In a late-evening development, a lawyer on behalf of the Omni Group of Companies said that the firm was not involved in any unlawful activities.
In a press release, Barrister M. Jamshid Malik said that the Rangers raided the company’s offices near the Hockey Club Stadium and Metropole Hotel and took along the company’s employees Kamran Munir Ansari and Kashif Shah and some files.
He clarified that the office that was raided on I. I Chundrigar Road does not belong to the Omni group and that out of the five people named by the Rangers only two belong to the Omni group.
The arms and ammunition mentioned also did not belong to Omni group nor were these recovered from its offices, he said.
The lawyer while refuting allegations mentioned by the Rangers appealed to the government of Sindh to carry out an independent and impartial enquiry into the matter and urged the courts to provide justice and security from undue victimisation.
courtesy : dawn news