Karachi: When Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s blue eyed Minister Ali Haider Zaidi on Saturday accused an opposition Sindh Minister of sheltering a drug cartel, it was not an off the cuff political barb at the Bhutto family.
In a tweet the next day, Zaidi accused Bilawal Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (ruling in Sindh province) of being involved in “kidnapping, extortion, corruption…even murder”.
For India and the world, the port city of Karachi seems to be ruled by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. But in Sindh, many like Ali Haider Zaidi feel that organised crime gangs have been unleashed in Pakistan’s largest city by a coterie of ministers in the PPP ruled provincial government.
In fact, the Bhutto family is often targeted by its rivals for patronising one of the most dreaded underworld dons, Uzair Baloch, who is involved in the killing of more than 150 people. Uzair is presently lodged in Karachi Central Jail, but he operates his gang from behind the bars.
India’s most wanted fugitive, Dawood Ibrahim, is reportedly residing here at the posh Clifton area, and continues to detach himself from local rivalry over drugs, extortion and crimes like kidnapping for ransoms.
Dawood’s notorious D-Company focuses more on international syndicate crimes and Hawala operations. As of now, D-Company’s feud with Lyari gangs has not come to light. Lyari, a densely populated Karachi borough, is infamous for its criminal gangs, mostly involved in drugs and gun running.
At the moment, Lyari gangs affiliated to Uzair Baloch (41) rule the roost in this port city where the underworld primarily thrives on drugs smuggled from Afghanistan.
Uzair shot into limelight when he gunned down rival underworld lord Pappu Ashraf in 2013. According to records of Karachi police, Uzair with around 20 armed men barged into a bungalow in the posh Defence Housing Area (DHA) and abducted Ashraf, his two aides and later killed them.
Having dual citizenship of Pakistan and Iran, Uzair used his political clout while shifting between the two countries. To tame the dreaded gangster, the authorities in 2017 handed over Uzair to the Army to investigate a case of espionage.
Meanwhile, Federal Maritime Minister Ali Haider Zaidi shared a video with the media, revealing an unholy nexus between Uzair and the Bhutto family. In a bid to expose PPP President Asif Zardari, a video containing a statement of an insider, known as Jan Habib, was released by Zaidi.
According to Geo TV, Jan Habib revealed that the PPP would transfer police officers on the whims of Uzair. “This is true. IG Sindh’s transfer was also done and the interior ministry used to stand at their (the gangsters’) door in the form of Rehman Malik,” Jan alleged.
In the video, Jan claimed that Uzair had personally met Zardari. Jan said, “Zardari met Uzair and it was an important meeting. Uzair called me and said Zardari called him and wanted to meet him and he has to go (to the meeting) with Qadir Patel. Zardari wanted his so-called ‘brother’ (Uzair) to contest elections from Lyari.”
The allegations of Imran Khan’s close aide Zaidi has once again shifted focus to the underworld of Karachi. The heat is mainly on the Lyari gangs, but can later affect the D-Company, which maintains close relations with the political leadership in Pakistan.