The Sindh High Court was informed on Monday that “hundreds of arms licences” had been issued in the name of Dr Zulfikar Mirza, former home minister, his wife and son, proving that he had formed his own army in violation of the Constitution.
A division bench headed by Justice Munib Akhtar was hearing a petition of Dr Mirza against the withdrawal of security personnel deployed for his security.
At the outset of the hearing, Additional Advocate General Barrister Mustafa Mahesar submitted a report prepared by the inspector general of police that said the licences of prohibited bore issued to the Mirzas by the interior ministry should be produced on their receipt from the ministry. The report said that most of the hundreds of heavily armed persons who escorted Dr Mirza were involved in criminal cases. It said news channels showed that several women brandishing prohibited weapons were accompanying Dr Mirza, which created a sense of fear and terror in Badin district.
A private army was prohibited by Article 256 of the Constitution, added the report. The provincial police chief in his report said the Badin SSP had also been directed to deploy personnel for the security of the petitioner and his family members. As for Dr Mirza’s allegation about Faryal Talpur’s security, the IGP said the former president’s sister was provided appropriate security for her safety as the special branch had issued a report stating that terrorists had planned an attack on her. He said ex-ministers had no entitlement as per law or the Provincial Assembly of Sindh Privileges Act 1975, nevertheless some former ministers, including Pir Mazaharul Haq, Dr Sagheer Ahmed, Abdul Rauf Siddiqui and Waseem Akhtar, had been given security on assessment of threats to their lives and recommendations of the special branch or other agencies.
Responding to another allegation levelled by Dr Mirza, the IGP said Anwar Majeed was a leading businessman and also honorary counsel general of Croatia, who was under threat of kidnapping for ransom as per the special branch report. Therefore, he said, Mr Majeed was given necessary security for his safety.
Later, a copy of the IGP’s report was supplied to Dr Mirza’s counsel, who was directed by the court to file a rejoinder, if any, by May 20 when the court would take up the matter again. In his petition, Dr Mirza had submitted that the police constables posted for his and wife’s security had been withdrawn by the authorities. He submitted in the petition that he had real threats to his life as former president Asif Ali Zardari and Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain were his biggest enemies. Dr Mirza said Ms Talpur was given a police escort comprising 250 police personnel whereas former home minister Waseem Akhtar and other MQM leaders were also given security.