KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Friday expressed concern over the arrest of former federal minister and chairman of the provincial Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Asim Hussain and lamented over the fact that he was not taken into confidence over the arrest.
“This is not fair and unwarranted,” said the chief executive while talking to media just after inaugurating the Begum Nusrat Bhutto underpass in Karachi on Friday.
“It is not appropriate to arrest any individual at will, we do not practice the law of the jungle in Sindh,” stated Qaim.
The chief minister said after the arrest of Dr Asim he had spoken to the Corps Commander and the DG Rangers, who told him there were serious complaints against the former petroleum minister.
“But when they sent me the details of the complaints against Dr Asim I found them to be in general without solid substance,” he recalled.
“Sufficient evidence against Dr Asim does not exist, I should be made aware of arrests before they happen,” added the chief minister.
The chief minister went on to say he held a meeting with Rangers DG Major General Bilal Akbar on Firday.
“I told him had there been complaints against Dr Asim, I would have been informed about them,” he said, adding that the DG Rangers had assured him he would be taken into confidence before major actions, and Dr Asim’s matter will also be resolved.
The chief minister said he informed the DG Rangers that he was in command of the security operation in Karachi, and hence should be kept in the loop regarding all developments.
Qaim went on to say his party was not content with the action taken against Dr Asim.
“They (PPP) hold me responsible because they (PPP) elevated me to the position of chief minister,” he said, emphasising that being an elected chief minister and head of the provincial apex committee, “I must be consulted.”
Commenting on his protest with the federal government on what he termed “invasion by FIA and NAB on Sindh,” the chief minister recalled he had taken up this issue with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali and then with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif twice.
“The prime minister told me he was not aware of their actions and had assured our grievances will be redressed but despite that raids on Civic Centre are continuing,” he deplored.
Qaim went on to say: “I have been informed that the FIA would stop their invasions within two days and we are also working to stop NAB from their excesses,” he said.
“Why is Sindh alone being targeted in the current anti-corruption drive?”
Dr Asim Hussain was detained on Wednesday by plain-clothed men allegedly belonging to an intelligence agency.
On Thursday, he was presented in ATC-III by the Rangers who informed the court that Dr Asim had been placed under a 90-day preventive detention under Section 11-EEEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
Court sources told media that the Rangers had contended that they have credible information regarding Dr Asim’s involvement in terrorism related activities as well as embezzlement of funds.
According to sources, Dr Asim was being grilled for his alleged involvement in illegal occupation of government land in North Nazimabad and Clifton for the extension of his Dr Ziauddin Hospital.
Also read: Dr Asim Hussain reportedly detained by security personnel in Karachi
Dr Asim was also being reportedly questioned for allegedly misusing authority when he was petroleum minister/adviser during the PPP government at the centre after the 2008 general election.
Dr Asim’s arrest came in what has been described as the first major action against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership during the ongoing Karachi operation. He is a close aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari.
In 2009, he was elected Senator from Sindh on a PPP ticket. He served as the minister of petroleum and natural resources and then the prime minister’s adviser with the same portfolio until 2012.
After the 2013 general elections, the PPP government in Sindh made him chairman of the provincial HEC.
He is also believed to be close to the top leadership of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
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