Dr Zulfikar Mirza had levelled serious allegations against Mr Malik at a press conference on Aug 28. He had accused the interior minister of having links with target killers in Karachi and ordering the release of some killers arrested by police and Rangers. – File Photo by APP

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: Facing incessant attacks on his integrity from former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza, Interior Minister Rehman Malik is seeking a judicial investigation into the allegations, while Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is unaware of a communique sent to the chief justice for setting up special anti-terrorism courts in Karachi.

Talking to journalists in Lahore on Sunday, the prime minister said Mr Malik had faxed a letter requesting a judicial commission headed by a Supreme Court judge to investigate the serious allegations.

According to the letter obtained by Dawn on Sunday, the interior minister said: “I would like to request you to please appoint a judicial commission headed by a judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan to look into the following allegations against me: (i) So-called connections with target killers. (ii) Target killers allegedly released under my instructions (concocted allegation).”

The minister said in the letter written on Sept 3: “I would like to apprise you that some false allegations have been levelled against me by former home minister, Sindh. I categorically deny these allegations as there is no truth in them. The criminals/target killers arrested by the police/Rangers are subject to judicial custody and their control does not fall under the Ministry of Interior. The undersigned neither ever instructed any authority in Sindh or any security agency under my control nor even recommended anybody to be released during the entire tenure of my position as Federal Minister for Interior. I request you to kindly take cognisance of these false allegations against me as I am in touch with the MQM and assisting the provincial government under the directives of the competent authority.”

Prime Minister Gilani praised the decision of the interior minister and said: “It is a good example that the ruling party’s minister has presented himself before the judiciary for accountability.”

He said the government was reviewing the request. “If there are any proofs against functionaries, they should be presented before a court.”

Dr Mirza had levelled serious allegations against Mr Malik at a press conference on Aug 28. He had accused the interior minister of having links with target killers in Karachi and ordering the release of some killers arrested by police and Rangers.

When contacted, President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar refused to comment on the minister’s request.

About Mr Malik’s claim that the chief justice had been requested to set up special courts in Karachi, Mr Gilani said if it was so then let the CJ decide about the matter.

Asked about his minister’s act of keeping the prime minister in the dark about such a serious matter, he said he would comment on it only when the matter came up to him.

He said he had been told by federal and provincial secret agencies that there were nine trouble spots in Karachi and an across-the-board action there could produce positive results. He then gave permission for the operation, saying: “If we do not conduct the operation then someone else will.”

The prime minister appreciated Dr Mirza’s stand, but advised him to go to a court if he had evidence to prove his allegations.

He said Dr Mirza was a committed PPP worker and he would not abandon the party.

The prime minister said it was up to the MQM to decide whether or not to rejoin the government.

He refuted the Punjab chief minister’s claim that the federal government was hindering the province’s power projects or meting out a step-motherly treatment in gas supplies.

He said a previous PML-N government had scared away investors in power sector by jailing some of them and filing cases against others.

He said even bureaucrats were not ready to take the risk of being implicated in cases if they approved power projects.

He said he had offered Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to raise the issue of gas supplies in the Council of Common Interests (CCI) or take it to a joint sitting of both houses of parliament but he insisted on settling it out of the constitutional forums.

LOCAL BODIES: The prime minister said he wished that local bodies polls should be held before the general elections (due by February 2013), after completion of computerised voters lists by the Election Commission.

The ECP has set the deadline of April next year for completing the lists.

Replying to a question, the prime minister asked how could mid-term polls be held when the provinces, including Punjab, had admitted that the environment was not conducive to hold by-elections.

He said the PPP would persuade other parties, including the PML-N, to hold local government polls before the general elections.

Claiming that the Election Commission enjoyed the confidence of all parties, the prime minister promised free, fair and transparent polls and said such an electoral exercise had always benefited the PPP.

About the havoc wreaked by heavy rainfall in Sindh, he said he and President Asif Zardari had concluded that the government was unable to help the affected people on its own and an appeal to seek the world’s help was necessary.

He said that a committee comprising the ministers for water and power and petroleum, the State Bank’s acting governor and the Planning Commission’s deputy chairman would soon give its recommendations to the federal cabinet for resolving the electricity crisis.

He said an energy conference would also be held and the chief ministers of all provinces would attend it.

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