Dr Asim Hussain’s case is a curious one, and it has the potential to divide opinion drastically in Sindh. Portions of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Mutthida Qaumi Movement (MQM) vote bank view the episode as the perfect illustration of the Ranger’s oppression and political victimisation, while other sections view it as the long awaited accountability for the corrupt leaders in the Sindh provincial government. The battle lines are drawn and the rhetoric from both quarters is strong. Matters are not helped by the disagreement in the prosecution. The police – under the control of the provincial government – seem to think that the terrorism charges against Dr Asim hold no water, while the Rangers’ investigating officer is adamant that there is an overabundance of evidence in this regard. To complicate matters, on Friday the federal government became officially involved, when an accountability court remanded the former federal minister into the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for seven days.

The facts of the case are not that complicated, Dr Asim Hussain has been accused of providing treatment and financial aid to terrorists in his hospitals, while civil charges against comprise allegations of illegal affiliation of colleges with the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, issuance of licenses for dozens of CNG stations and other corrupt practices. Breaking from the norm, and in contradiction to PPP sources, there is actual evidence against Dr Asim. A consensual report according to 7 members Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) confirmed these allegations, while Special Public Prosecutor of Dr. Asim’s case Mushtaq Jehangiri presented a list of terrorists in court, who had been treated In Zia-ud-Din Hospital for their injuries at privileged fees on the advice of Dr. Asim. It includes terrorists of outlawed organizations Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Lyari Gangwar along with political workers of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). This, coupled with the statement of Dr Yousuf Sattar — the managing director of Ziauddin Hospitals – is enough to at least indict Dr Asim if not convict him.

In the face of such evidence, the police’s refusal to even file terrorism related charges seem increasingly unjustifiable – and decidedly malafide. The police earlier had also wrangled with NAB, refusing to hand over Dr Asim over ‘legal technicalities’. The PPP’s claims of political victimization may be true, and Dr Asim may be innocent of direct involvement at the end of the day, but the matter must go to court. Trying to prevent that only makes Dr Asim seem guilty and the police, sold out.

If there had been an uneasy peace between the Rangers and the provincial government, the police’s protectionist policies in this case may unravel all that.