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Monday Jul 13 2020

Imran Ismail denies having met Uzair Baloch or his associates

Governor Sindh Imran Ismail denied claims by PPP that PTI leaders courted Uzair Baloch. — Geo News

Governor Sindh Imran Ismail has denied being among PTI workers accused by the PPP’s Saeed Ghani earlier today of having met with Lyari gangster Uzair Baloch and his outlawed People’s Aman Committee.

Speaking to Shahzad Iqbal in the Geo News programme "Naya Pakistan" today, Ismail vehemently denied Ghani’s claims.

Ismail’s remarks came after Sindh education minister Saeed Ghani alleged the senior leadership of the ruling party — President Arif Alvi, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail and Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi — had held meetings with Baloch and his cohorts.

Ghani’s broadside followed allegations made by an associate of Uzair Baloch a day earlier — Habib Jan — who claimed that the ruling PTI had the gangster’s “full support” and it was the late Naeemul Haque who was the “bridge of communication” between them.

“Arif Alvi, Ali Zaidi, Naeemul Haq and I were never in contact with Habib Jan,” Ismail said during the Naya Pakistan interview, adding that before Ali Zaidi’s recently released video, he did not even know the man.

Zaidi had posted a video on Twitter, in which Habib Jan alleged ties between the PPP leadership and Uzair Baloch.

“Who would give us the task of getting help from Uzair Baloch?” the governor asked in disbelief. “You may accuse the PTI of anything, but you cannot accuse it of supporting terrorists,” he added. “Imran Khan was the first person to speak out against terrorism in the country.”

He also stressed that neither Uzair Baloch, nor Habib Jan were ever spoken to on the phone, contrary to claims made by Habib Jan.

The latest claims have added fuel to the long-running feud between the ruling PTI and the PPP, who have of late been sniping at each other over the veracity of the joint investigation team report on Uzair Baloch that was made public by the Sindh government.

On the heels of the report being released, Zaidi held a news conference early this week and brandished the “original” report, claiming the Sindh government’s version had been “tampered with”.

During the interview, the governor Sindh stressed that Ali Zaidi “is a responsible person” and would not speak without “taking the prime minister into confidence”.

He said Zaidi had been saying for two years that the JIT report should have been made public. “If there was nothing in the JIT, why it was not made public before?” Ismail asked.