The clash between the Rangers and the Sindh provincial government, specifically Pakistan’s People Party (PPP), seems to be deepening, much to the worry of the people of Karachi. On Monday both the Rangers and the Karachi police conducted raids across the city, arresting dozens of people and recovering caches of weapons. While this is an otherwise standard news story in Karachi, these raids, ostensibly conducted after consultation and coordination, had an air of one-upmanship, with both law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) going to great length to highlight their individual role in the arrests. Dr Asim Hussain’s case has already pitted the two LEAs against each other in the justice system, and the longer this tiff continues the more pronounced their disagreements will become – and the people of Karachi will be left to suffer the consequences.

The prime cause of this disagreement remains the provincial government and its quest to save Dr Asim Hussain from prosecution – by hook or crook. The police claimed there was “no evidence against Dr Hussain of terrorism charges” and released him despite the Rangers’ prosecutor and the Joint Investigation Report (JIT) insisting that there is at least enough to indict him if not convict him. The resulting legal challenges have begun to spiral out of control. An anti-terrorism court on Monday rejected police’s investigating report that had acquitted Dr Asim Hussain of all terror charges, and ordered the suspect be presented before ATC-II for further proceedings. While Deputy Superintendent of Rangers (DSP) Inayatullah Durrani filed a constitutional petition requesting the Sindh High Court (SHC) to restrain the Sindh government from changing Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Mushtaq Jahangiri. It must be remembered here that allegations of destruction of evidence already exist against DSP Altaf Hussain, who was the police investigation officer. Despite it being a holiday on Sunday, Mr Jahangiri, was replaced by Nisar Durrani through a notification issued by law department – which Advocate General Sindh Shahadat Awan expressed ignorance of when questioned later.

If the PPP believes that Dr Asim Hussain is innocent, it should fight the matter in the court of law – in such a high-profile case it is bound to get a fair hearing. Instead it is using ‘other means’ to ensure the case does not even go to trial. While this may give Dr Hussain some respite, it is taking a battering ram to all conventions of governmental neutrality, all rules of procedure and all laws of the CPC. And in the process it is dragging the already maligned Sindh police’s name through the mud. The PPP is doing irreparable damage to the legal system – and its own credibility – it must be stopped from doing so, by the Supreme Court or maybe even the Federal government.