Sindh Information Minister Saeed Ghani on Friday lambasted Shikarpur Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Muhammad Rizwan Ahmed Khan for levelling accusations against him and his brother.
During a press conference in Karachi, Ghani termed Khan a "third-class, third-rate man" and accused the SSP of protecting drug dealers. The Sindh information minister was referring to an earlier report prepared by SSP Rizwan — when he was posted in Karachi — in which he had accused some politicians, including Ghani, of protecting criminals involved in drug-related crimes.
The press conference comes a day after a report, prepared by the SSP, emerged in which Rizwan had accused PPP lawmaker and Sindh Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh of patronising criminals and using them for political and financial gains.
The SSP's report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, came to light on January 16 in the backdrop of the Sindh government’s decision to replace the provincial police chief, IG Dr Kaleem Imam, citing "compelling reasons".
Ghani, in his press conference today, demanded Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah initiate an inquiry against him and vowed to not only leave politics and all the offices he occupied but also present himself for the "strictest punishment" if any allegation against him was proven to be true.
"I have worked very hard to earn respect in politics," the PPP leader said. "A third-rate police officer like him (Rizwan) cannot be allowed to play with people's reputation for his own personal and heinous purposes."
Ghani said that some of his relatives were involved in drug-related crimes, but he had never supported them.
The information minister said that when SSP Rizwan was posted in Karachi's Chanesar Goth, Saeed's constituency, drug-related crimes went up. After being elected MPA in 2013, Ghani met the additional inspector general and deputy inspector general to complain that police are not taking enough measures to curb drug-related crimes in his area, after which action was taken against those involved in dealing.
However, Ghani told reporters today, the police, in order to exert "political pressure" on the government, would arrest "two drug dealers and 20 innocent people".
The PPP leader also accused the SSP of being involved in extra-judicial killings, including that of PPP worker Faisal Lodhi, who was killed in an alleged encounter in 2017. Ghani said that Lodhi was being harassed by the police since he quit MQM and joined PPP. On December 1, 2017, Lodhi was picked up by the police from a barber's shop and two days later he was shot dead in a police 'encounter', Ghani told reporters.
"When Iqbal Sand (PPP leader) met Rizwan and told him that the killing [of Lodhi] was wrong, Rizwan played a recording on his phone and told Iqbal that Faisal had admitted to committing crimes," Ghani said, adding that Lodhi's was an extrajudicial killing.
The PPP leader said that he went to then inspector general of police A.D. Khowaja, who ordered an inquiry. Incumbent SSP (East) Tanveer Alam Odho conducted the inquiry and recorded statements of multiple witnesses including Sand, but it was "somehow stopped" after a while, said Ghani. The PPP leader added that Sand received threatening calls during and after the inquiry of the matter.
Ghani also accused Rizwan of patronising people who were known to be involved in the illegal drug trade in Chanesar Goth.
"The Sindh police department has become like NAB (National Accountability Bureau); they prepare a report against anyone who speaks against it."
SSP Rizwan's report accuses Sheikh of using "his criminal wing against his political opponents and for creating his fear in society", adding that “his men” also killed the son of a political opponent, Shah Nawaz Brohi.
According to the report, which is marked ‘secret’ and addressed to the deputy inspector general of the district, “Sheikh has un-satiable hunger of his control over police [and] constantly pressurises the SSP of the district for posting his loyal police personnel who then leak secret information to him.”
“Furthermore, Imtiaz Sheikh interferes in postings, transfers of police personnel on key posts, such as SHOs, and continuously exerts pressure on the undersigned for posting of police personnel for gaining their loyalty,” it adds.
As proof of his allegations, the SSP has also attached cellular record data of the energy minister, his secretary, son and others close to him, highlighting the number of times they have contacted "wanted" criminals, such as Atto Sheikh, who have dozens of cases registered against them.
“Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh MPA has a gang of criminals who reside in and sell drugs from Chingi Muqam in the jurisdiction of PS New Faugdari, district Shikarpur. Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh, his brother Maqbool Ahmed Sheikh and his son Faraz Ahmed Sheikh have private guards who are proclaimed offenders and recorded criminals,” the report states.