Dr Asim’s extended stay with the authorities has led to another supposed bombshell doing the rounds on social media. An eighty-second video has surfaced, reportedly from when he was in the custody of the Rangers, in which the former Petroleum Minister accuses Owais Muzaffar, Asif Ali Zardari’s foster brother, of involving himself in ‘all kinds of corruption’. Increasing the price of vaccines and land-grabbing are only a few of the charges levelled.

The allegations by Dr Asim could only be taken seriously if there was some other proof besides his verbal testimony. Can revelations made under duress be even considered as valid? The sheer amount of time Dr Asim has spent in the hands of the Rangers, added to the repeated accusations of torture from his lawyer have to be taken into account before accepting what he says at face value. In any case, the eighty second video appears to be part of a longer video, and to fully understand the context of what was said, watching only part of it will not suffice. Where did this video come from anyway? The fact that Dr Asim does not even remember when this video was made, or of the contents within should also give one pause.

This is not to say that Asif Ali Zardari and company are exonerated of the numerous allegations against them for corruption. Even currently, there is much to be desired from the provincial government’s performance in Sindh, and the consistent accusations of corruption refuse to die down. But this particular piece of evidence cannot be considered as irrefutable proof of their misdeeds. Proof needs to come from sources other than Dr Asim as well, to substantiate the claims made.

The long-extended stay of the Rangers in Karachi has given rise to many allegations against them as well. And while some, or even many might be politically motivated, the actions of the paramilitary force cannot be wholly justified in good conscience. The focus has been on rooting out political violence, which as a principle makes sense. But that was never supposed to be sole purpose of the Rangers being deployed in the metropolitan city, not to mention that the tactics employed to achieve this goal might have fallen short of accepted standards. Now that peace in Karachi is becoming a more realistic possibility, there has to be an element of transparency in the actions of the Rangers, for both MQM and PPP in the case of Dr Asim specifically. Nine months in the state’s custody without any charges proven is a punishment without sentence. That is not how the justice system is supposed to function.