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Sindh Rangers arrested Uzair Baloch

12 April, 2017

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The Rangers arrested five suspected terrorists and recovered a cache of arms and explosives during a raid conducted in Keamari Town, Colonel Qaiser Khan of the paramilitary force stated in a press conference on Wednesday.

The apprehended suspects include:

Bilal Ahmed: Allegedly a close accomplice of Safoora Goth massacre mastermind Tahir Minhas, suspected to be responsible for murder on Minhas' commands
Tahir Zaman: Suspected Al Qaeda militant, received training near Miranshah, allegedly responsible for grenade attack on police mobile near Hilal Chowrangi
Muhammad Nawaz: Allegedly passed information on Army, police and intelligence officials to Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan
Muhammad Farhan Siddiqui: Allegedly sanctioned by Al Qaeda Pakistan chief Ustaad Ahmed Farooq to recruit new members
Muhammad Mashhadi: Suspected Al Qaeda militant arrested in 2009 for transporting weapons from Karachi-Sukkur, allegedly returned to militancy after release in 2014
The Rangers said that 8 kilograms of explosives, one suicide jacket, four hand grenades, four bottle bombs, 20 meters of detonator cord, three detonators, four sub-machine guns (SMG), two pistols, 50 SMG rounds, and 15 pistol rounds were recovered from the suspects.

Anti-state and militant literature was also recovered from their possession, indicating the suspects' allegiance to banned outfits, Col Qaiser said.

Uzair was arrested by Rangers personnel outside Karachi last year in January in what the paramilitary force said was a raid.

The court had then handed him over to the police on remand. A JIT formed to probe the case in May 2016 said Uzair had allegedly worked for an Iranian intelligence agency, and had recommended that the head of the outlawed Peoples Amn Committee be tried by a military court for ‘espionage’.

The JIT report signed by representatives of the Sindh police, Rangers and intelligence agencies was sent to the home department on April 29 last year for “perusal and necessary action”.

According to the JIT report, Uzair was involved in “espionage activities by providing secret information regarding army installations and officials to foreign agents (Iranian intelligence officers) which is a violation of the Official Secret Act 1923”.

The saga of Uzair’s arrest is embroiled in controversies as more than a year after his arrest in Dubai by Interpol, he mysteriously surfaced in Karachi only to be caught by Sindh Rangers in their ‘targeted action’.

Uzair, once known for his loyalty to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and close contacts with its certain leaders, was declared absconder in over 40 cases pending before ATCs.

Around 35 cases pertaining to murder, attempted murder and attacking the police were registered against him during the operation conducted in Lyari in 2012.

He was also declared a proclaimed offender in the triple murder of Arshad Pappu, the alleged leader of a Lyari gang, his brother Yasir Arafat and their confidant Juma Shera, who were killed in Lyari in March 2013.

A few hours after he was caught by the Rangers in early 2016, Uzair was produced before the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts in Karachi and informed that his arrest was made “in Chakiwara” — a Lyari area that is not on the outskirts of Karachi — and of his three-month detention for inquiry.

He was held under 90-day preventive detention by the Rangers, who later handed him over to police.

While the high-profile arrest caused quite a stir in the national political scene because of Uzair’s previous association with the PPP, the official version of the actual events remain shrouded in mystery.

On Dec 29, 2014, Uzair was arrested in Dubai by Interpol when he was crossing into the United Arab Emirates from Muscat by road. The Interpol move was confirmed by the Pakistani authorities and within a week they sent a Karachi police team to the UAE to get Uzair’s custody but to no avail.

Later, the same team visited the Gulf state several times, met security officials there and also held meetings with Interpol but did not succeed. However, it was reported that the UAE authorities secretly handed over Uzair to Pakistani sleuths who later brought him to the country last year.

Since then, the former chief of the banned Peoples Aman Committee along with alleged Lyari gangsters — Amin Buledi, Ramzan alias Ramzani, Abdul Ghaffar alias Mama and Zubair Baloch — has been booked in five murder cases, including the killing of an SHO, and two cases of police encounters registered during the 2012 Lyari operation.

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