A 21-grade officer and Sindh secretary for human rights, Dr Badar Jamil Mandhro, who was reportedly facing a corruption case, has gone missing in Karachi, officials said on Saturday. The incident prompted both the Sindh police chief and chief minister to take notice.
Mandhro had left his residence in Clifton on Friday morning to go to his office at the Sindh Secretariat but did not return home and his whereabouts were not known, Deputy Inspector General South Sharjeel Kharal told Dawn quoting the bureaucrat's family.
He reportedly made telephone contact with his wife at around 2:30am on Saturday, informing her that he was in the Defence Housing Authority area.
DIG Kharal said when police came to know about his disappearance on Saturday, they tried to locate him with the help of modern technology.
His last presence traced with the help of his mobile phone was in Nazimabad area where he was present at around 4:00am on Saturday. Since then, his whereabouts were not known as his cell phone remained off.
The senior police officer said that they were waiting for the family to formally lodge a report to proceed further in the case.
The city police chief, Additional IG Karachi Ghulam Nabi Memon, told Dawn that police so far do not have any clue which may help ascertain the exact cause of the bureaucrat's disappearance.
Sindh Inspector General Syed Kaleem Imam took notice of the provincial secretary going missing and directed the DIGs of three police zones to look into the matter and submit a report immediately.
Imam also asked the DIG Criminal Investigation Agency to probe the matter as a "special task" using modern technology.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the development and sought a report from both IG Sindh and chairman Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) and other institutions.
“If he has been kidnapped, concerted efforts should be made to recover him,” said Shah.
The provincial chief executive added that if any "institution" has detained the secretary, his arrest should be made public.
A source at Chief Minister House said that the ACE has submitted its report to Shah, stating that they have not arrested the provincial secretary.
Dr Mandhro was facing charges of embezzlement of funds meant for uplift schemes as tenders for such schemes were allegedly given to ‘blue-eyed contractors’. At the time, Mandhro was the director general of the Karachi Development Authority.
In the same case, ACE officials were quoted by media as saying that the provincial secretary had already obtained bail before arrest from the anti-corruption court recently.
A source in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told Dawn that Mandhro was arrested by the anti-graft body in the past over charges of illegal recruitments in the minorities department when he was its secretary a few years ago.
However, the NAB source said that when they filed a reference against him, Mandhro moved an application before the accountability court under Section 265-K of the Code of Criminal Procedure, contending that he had no role in the said illegal recruitments. The court had subsequently acquitted him.
The NAB source added that he was unaware if any inquiry was pending against the senior bureaucrat on charges of possessing assets beyond means.