KARACHI: The chief minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, opposed a monitoring committee for the Karachi operation and claimed that they never needed one. During an interview with a private news channel on Thursday night, Mr Shah said that being chief minister he was “captain” of the Karachi operation and the proposed monitoring committee was never needed as elected representatives were looking after the law enforcement agencies’ actions.
“There is no need of any committee to monitor the operation,” he said. “I am captain of this entire exercise and I am the elected representative of the people. So when the democratic set up is in place there is no need of such committees.” He added that even the federal [government] agreed with this argument.
Mr Shah’s thoughts were in opposition to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) demand for a monitoring committee. The MQM argued that the Karachi operation so far had been impartial as law enforcement agencies were only targeting its workers by calling them criminals, terrorists and extortionists.
However, the chief minister was critical when asked about recent actions carried out by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, against senior officials and provincial institutions over alleged corruption.
Mr Shah said he strongly objected to actions taken by these agencies. He added that when he raised the matter with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he said he was unaware about actions being taken by federal agencies against provincial departments. Qaim Ali Shah likened raids by FIA, NAB and Rangers to an invasion.
The chief minister categorically denied any association with Uzair Jan Baloch. He claimed that he had never met the man nor was Uzair Baloch a member of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party. “He [Uzair Baloch] was caught in Dubai,” said Mr Shah. “Then our police team went there to gain his custody but it could not materialise for unknown reasons. Now I don’t know if he is still in custody in Dubai or has been released.”
Despite calling himself “captain” of the Karachi operation, the chief minister admitted that he was not in the loop when Rangers raided the MQM headquarters Nine Zero in March.
The chief minister claimed investigators probing the attack on MQM legislator Abdul Rashid Godil were moving fast and a breakthrough was expected within three days.
“Recently our law enforcement agencies have carried out major operations against terrorist outfits in Karachi that led to the killing of key Al Qaeda men,” he said. “You will see the same spirit in this case as well.”
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2015