ISLAMABAD - Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday, criticised Minister for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi for “acting irresponsibly” by releasing what the minister claimed was the “real” joint investigation team (JIT) report on infamous Lyari gangster Uzair Jan Baloch.

Speaking to reporters outside the National Accountability Bureau office in Islamabad after being probed by the anti-graft watchdog, Shah wondered how the PTI minister had obtained the alleged ‘real’ JIT report.

“I think someone came to his house on a motorcycle and gave him that report. If he had said that some responsible person handed it to him, it might have made sense,” said Murad Ali Shah.

Shah clarified that the JIT had seven members and not six as mentioned by the minister, adding that the report submitted to the Sindh home department had all seven signatures. He further said that this was the same JIT report that was submitted to the Sindh High Court in a sealed envelope, was read by the honourable judges and then returned to the provincial government.

Shah further said JIT reports in “several forms were being circulated [on social media]” and since there was “no official seal” that was used for these documents, it might have confused many people.

Responding to a question, CM Shah said the provincial government’s legal department had advised them against making the reports public but the report was made public owing to the political pressure.

Shah pointed out that the report Zaidi presented to the media mentioned one of the six members as belonging to Crime Investigation Department (CID) which had been renamed to Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in 2015.

“I don’t know where he creates [these reports] from. I believe he is in some way trying to give favours to suspects [named in the JIT],” Shah claimed. “He acted very irresponsibly on a very important matter.”

“A person comes and gives it [to him] on motorcycle and [Zaidi] waves it in the National Assembly the next day. You saw how he was unable to defend himself in a programme the other day. If he had told us before [how he obtained the report] then we might not have released it but would have laughed instead.”

Responding to a question, Shah said that it was up to the federal government to decide whether an inquiry should be conducted into the matter. He added that if Zaidi had harmed the case against Baloch, proceedings would be conducted according to the law. He said that the claims made by Zaidi had not damaged the PPP. “They made an attempt to malign [the PPP]. They showed pictures and videos of Baloch and his accomplices saying they were going to join the PPP. PPP is a democratic party, Zia tried to destroy it, he couldn’t. Musharraf tried, he couldn’t. What can these people do?” Murad Ali Shah said.

Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah appeared before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation team and recorded his statement in Roshan Sindh corruption case. The NAB Combined Investigation Team headed by Director General NAB Rawalpindi Irfan Mangi. On the occasion, the Sindh replied the questions of the probe team regarding the corruption scam.

According to sources, Murad Ali Shah denied the allegations and clearing politicians said that only bureaucracy was involved in corruption. NAB also asked how the companies won the contract worth billion of rupees without bribe and why the project was started without a proper feasibility.  They said, the CM had also submitted reply to the questionnaire which was given him by the probe team on his last appearance before the Bureau.

On the other hand, the NAB Rawalpindi summoned Deupty Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwala for questioning in relation to the ongoing fake bank accounts and illegal allotments of plots case. Last week, he had skipped the NAB hearing and decided to appear before the probe team on next date.

Former Manging Director Pakistan Airlines and Chairman Pakistan Overseas Cooperative Housing society Ijaz Haroon is in jail on the same allegations which the Deputy Chairman Senate is facing.

Onus on courts to look into JIT controversy: Fawad Chaudhry

PTI leader and federal minister Fawad Chaudhry, in a statement, said that the PPP stance of distancing itself from Uzair Baloch and Nisar Morai was quite weak.

The PTI minister said that federal Minister for Shipping Ali Zaidi had raised pertinent questions about the JIT related to the notorious murderer.

Fawad said that as for the evidence, Zaidi also provided the JIT report, and now it was the court’s responsibility to look into this issue.

“It is imperative to cleanse the political parties of criminal elements,” said the PTI minister.

SC urged to take suo moto notice of Uzair Baloch JIT

PTI leader and federal minister Ali Zaidi asked Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed to take a suo moto notice on the Uzair Baloch JIT report released by the Sindh government, saying the original report had been tampered with.

“It was our party’s efforts, Ali Zaidi went to court as well. The JIT reports were not being made public,” said Faraz, accusing parties in power in Sindh of establishing their “personal state” rather than establishing the rule of law.

The minister said that the report, “interestingly, does not mention on whose behest Baloch carried out the murders or committed all the crimes”.