April 13 , 2017

We are against disappearance of political people: Sindh CM

Says provincial govt won’t maintain silence on the issue

KARACHI: As the concerned members of the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday condemned the disappearance of two close aides of former president Asif Ali Zardari, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that even if the missing persons associated with the People's Party were “abducted” by any agency, then it (the agency) had to abide by the law and the Constitution as the disappeared people should be produced in court within 24 hours.

As the provincial assembly discussed and expressed serious concern over the disappearance of two PPP followers Ghulam Qadir Marri and Ashfaq Laghari, the CM assured the house that every effort would be made by the provincial administration to locate the whereabouts of the two missing persons at the earliest and later to get them recovered, keeping in view concerns shown by the lawmakers. He said that his provincial government would not maintain silence any more over the issue of disappearance of two missing persons.

The CM said that at present there was no case of kidnapping in Sindh. He said that Article-10 of the Constitution made it binding upon any agency to produce any person arrested by it in the nearest situated court within 24 hours.

Giving details in the house about the two missing persons associated with PPP, the Sindh CM said that Ashfaq Laghari went missing on 03 April, 2017 and his vehicle was found within the jurisdiction of Gadap Police Station near the Quetta Darbar Hotel.

“His (Ashfaq Laghari’s) phone was switched off at 9:30 pm. Police came into action, his phone record was obtained, Geo-fencing was done, fingerprints were also preserved, while an FIR of the incident was also registered,” he said.

He said it would be highly alarming if the police and the government remained completely clueless in the case of a person suddenly disappearing. Regarding the disappearance of Ghulam Qadir Marri, the CM said that Marri had gone to Garhi Khuda Bakhsh to participate in the death anniversary programme of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 04 April and he (the CM) had met him in Naudero.

“He (Marri) was going back from there on April 07. He contacted his home on phone on his way back between Sehwan and Hyderabad and asked to prepare a meal for him as he would have meal at his home”.

He said that Marri was intercepted by 12 to 14 persons riding on a double-cabin vehicle and a Vigo four-wheeler having walkie talkies near Jamshoro. Marri had been taken away by them along with his four associates. He said that Marri was a patient of cancer and diabetes and his abductors took along with them his medicines, which he always used to keep with him.

The CM said that Marri was a close friend of former president Asif Ali Zardari and a big landlord. Zardari had also sent him to London for treatment. A petition regarding the incident was also filed in the High Court.

While strongly condemning the two incidents, he said that agencies were required to do their work within the confines of the Constitution. He said that police on their own had been making efforts for locating the two missing persons but their resources were limited. In such cases, help of other agencies are also being sought.

The CM said that any person facing allegations of anti-state activities, terrorism, or similar heinous charges, should be provided justice as he should be duly produced in court. “We are against making people disappear or going missing in such a manner regardless of their political association,” he said.

He said that a person like Dr Asim Hussain had been imprisoned in jail for around 21 months when nobody could believe that he (Dr Asim) could be a terrorist.

He recalled in the house that he had called a delegation of MQM to Chief Minister's House for holding talks with them when the opposition political party in August last year had staged a protest sit-in outside the Karachi Press Club. Several members of the provincial cabinet were also sent to the hunger-strike camp of MQM. The CM said that when the MQM’s concerned lawmakers had raised the issue of missing persons of the party, he assured them (MQM’s MPAs) that soon a meeting would be convened on the issue and the provincial government would fully abide by the law.

Murad Ali Shah said that he was against the incidents of political activists going missing or becoming disappeared. He said that his provincial government didn’t believe in taking vindictive action.

The court had decreed on several occasions to arrest Dr Farooq Sattar due to his nomination in a terrorism case. The CM said that his government had been desisting from arresting Dr Sattar owing to his association with a political party though he neither secured bail nor appeared in court.

He assured the house that his government would do its work fully in accordance with the law and the Constitution not just in cases of missing persons but in every case.

The CM said that his government would not spare any person involved in the incident of terrorism, law-breaking or extortion of money. “This government would fully observe the principles of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto who had always abided by the Constitution,” he claimed.

The CM said that he gave utmost value to sentiments and concerns of concerned members of the house over the two missing associates of the former president and he would direct the police to double its efforts to locate the two missing men at the earliest. He said that it was binding upon the police to trace the two missing persons and find out if they had been abducted or taken away by any agency.

Meanwhile, other members of the house also expressed serious concerns over the disappearance of two men associated with the ruling Pakistan People's Party.



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