LONDON: Uzair Baloch’s aide and associate Habib Jan Baloch has claimed that the Lyari gangster supported both the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as well as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), but the PTI wanted Uzair and his associates to support the party “secretly”.
Speaking to The News in London, Habib Jan claimed that Uzair Baloch, Rehman Baloch (known as Rehman Dacoit) and others told the PTI leadership that they were patriotic Pakistanis and would not hide their support for the PTI.
London-based Habib Jan has been listed in the joint investigation team (JIT) report made public by the Sindh government as a friend of Uzair Baloch. Until 2015, he reportedly ran a group called “Friends of Lyari International” and held events in the British Parliament, mainly opposing MQM and Altaf Hussain.
Habib Jan claimed that it was in 2011 when PTI-UK’s former president Rabia Zia — who now works for Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar — called his cell phone and allegedly told him that Imran Khan wanted to speak to Zulfiqar Mirza as both Khan and Mirza happened to be in London at the same time.
Habib Jan further claimed: “I asked Rabia Zia to let me speak to Imran Khan first. Imran Khan asked me how I was doing and then he spoke to Zulfiqar Mirza. I remember I was in West London’s Dawat Restaurant when I received Rabia’s call.
“It was agreed that we would support PTI. Following that, Uzair Baloch sent 25 or 40 vehicles for PTI’s Karachi jalsa; we also sent our manpower to PTI’s Larkana jalsa.
“I was in PTI and I still consider myself [a member] of PTI. We supported Imran Khan for his anti-corruption agenda as we had no choice after Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom.”
He claimed that they allied with the PTI out of their intense dislike for Zardari. “We hated Asif Ali Zardari so out of Zardari-hatred we went to PTI,” he said.
Habib Jan claimed that without Uzair Baloch’s support, Imran Khan and former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry would not have been able to enter Karachi and hold public meetings.
He went on to allege: “I have pictures with the late Naeemul Haque and Ali Zaidi but I don’t want to release those pictures. I have regard for values. Without our help, Imran Khan would not have been able to come out of Karachi airport. Similarly, [former chief justice] Iftikhar Chaudhry would not have been able to come out.”
Similarly, federal ministers Faisal Vawda and Ali Zaidi would not have been in positions to hold public rallies without his blessing, he claimed. He said: “I ask Faisal Vawda to explain how he held a rally in Clifton, I ask Ali Zaidi the same question. Lyari and Malir was the main PTI support base.
“We gave them oxygen through Lyari although we don’t take credit for getting their MNAs and MPAs elected — that’s another story how they were helped. I still support Imran Khan and Lyari will be with him if he stops taking policy U-turns.”
PML-N sought ‘clandestine’ support from Uzair Baloch
Habib Jan also claimed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Ghous Ali Shah “came to us too and met us secretly”. “He (Shah) also wanted us to support PML-N secretly. PTI also wanted us to support them secretly, but I said that we would not give secret support and Uzair and Zafar Baloch [a slain associate of Uzair Baloch] agreed with me.
“We said we are patriotic Pakistanis and our support will be public. Naeemul Haque was heading PTI Sindh at that time and he became the bridge of communication between PTI and us.”
PPP’s ties with Uzair Baloch ‘well known’
Habib Jan claimed the PPP’s and Uzair Baloch’s support for each other was well known and Faryal Talpur, Qadir Patel, Sharmila Faruqi and Saeed Ghani allegedly held negotiations with Uzair Baloch.
“They didn’t like me and at one point they held talks on the condition that I will not be made part of any talks. I agreed but I told Uzair to film the PPP leadership so later on they don’t deny [it].”
He said the JIT report should have been released when Zardari and Faryal Talpur were in jail. “There is no point of these JITs anymore when they are out on bail.”
Habib Jan rejected the JITs by PPP government as well as the one presented by Ali Zaidi. He insisted the allegations made against Uzair Baloch in the JIT are “frivolous”.
He said that those blaming Uzair Baloch should first watch the interview of Muhammad Anwar to Geo News recently in which the MQM leader claimed that he personally met Indian diplomats on behalf of his party. He called on Pakistan to form a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” and start a new chapter.