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‘Disappearance’ of Zardari aides alarms Shah

‘Disappearance’ of Zardari aides alarms Shah

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah has expressed alarm over the mysterious disappearance of close aides to former president Asif Ali Zardari in Sindh over recent days and called on the government to immediately produce the men in court.

Talking to reporters outside his official residence here on Saturday, the PPP leader claimed that through such acts, the government was, in fact, “insulting parliament”, which had recently approved laws binding law enforcement and security agencies to produce a person in court within 24 hours of his arrest.

“Why are the picked-up persons not being produced [before courts]?” Mr Shah asked. He expressed concern over the disappearance of Ghulam Qadir Marri, who he identified as “Mr Zardari’s manager” and also raised his voice against the alleged kidnapping of Nawab Leghari, a former adviser to the Sindh government, who had been whisked away by unidentified people in Islamabad a few days back.

Mr Marri reportedly went missing along with his driver and two other people while returning to Hyderabad from Naudero. Their vehicle was found abandoned near the Jamshoro thermal power house on Friday evening.

The three men who have gone missing along with Mr Zardari’s manager have been identified as Khan Mohammad Mangi, a secretary of Mr Marri; Sajjad Arain; and driver Mehboob Khaskheli.

Mr Marri owns agricultural land in Tando Allahyar and purportedly looks after agricultural lands and other businesses of top PPP leaders, including Mr Zardari. He had accompanied Mr Zardari in helicopter during the former’s visit to Hub in March.

“If you are going to pick up close friends of Asif Zardari, then pick me up too. I am also his associate,” Mr Shah said.

The PPP leader alleged that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not give any importance to parliament, which was evident from the fact that he had attended only 8pc of the total sessions of the assembly so far.

The opposition leader also lashed out at the PML-N government for its alleged failure to curb terrorism and implement the National Action Plan (NAP). He said the government had agreed to form a parliamentary committee to oversee the implementation of NAP against terrorism, but there had been no progress in this direction.

Mr Shah said that despite launching of Operation Raddul Fasaad, terrorists had recently struck Lahore, again.

Mr Shah warned the government against dividing the country on provincial lines. “Don’t incite the people. Do you want that the people should come on roads and start speaking against the state?” the PPP leader asked, berating the federal government for ignoring Sindh in ongoing development projects.

Mr Shah also criticised the federal government for interfering in the Sindh affairs on the issue of the change of the inspector-general police (IGP). He said the federal government had changed three interior secretaries and five IGs in Islamabad in three years, but was objecting to the Sindh government’s right of seeking the IGP of its own choice.

“If we are incompetent, then bring the legislation for giving executive powers to the judiciary,” Mr Shah said, in his apparent reference to the recent decisions of the courts against some actions of the Sindh government. He also expressed his concerns over the delay in the announcement of the Panama Papers case by the Supreme Court.

The opposition leader also castigated the government for its “failed” economic and foreign policies.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2017

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