Pak military takes Karachi gang war leader in custody for espionage days after sentencing Indian spy Jadhav to death

MAMOSA Report — Uzair Baloch, a notorious leader of Karachi’s Lyari gang war, has been taken into military custody, the Pakistan Army’s media wing ISPR early Wednesday morning said on social media.

In a tweet late Tuesday night, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said, “Uzair Baloch taken into military custody under Pakistan Army Act / Official Secret Act – 1923 on charges of espionage (leakage of sensitive security information to foreign intelligence agencies).”

Baloch’s physical remand by the military on charges of espionage and leaking official state secrets, comes a day after  an Indian naval officer arrested last year and charged with espionage and sabotage was sentenced to death after trial “through Field General Court-Martial,” referring to a court-martial trial of heinous crimes, dedicated to cases involving foreign agents and spies.

The condemned naval officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, was arrested in March 2016 in Baluchistan, the restive province in Southwest Pakistan, where a low intensity insurgency has simmered for decades. Pakistani military officials described the capture of Jadhav as a major counterintelligence victory. He was accused of running a clandestine terror network within the province and of participating in various activities meant to destabilize the country, specially Karachi – Pakistan’s financial capital.

Uzair was arrested by Rangers personnel outside Karachi last year in January in what the paramilitary force said was a raid, and remained under detention for nearly 15 months with different law enforcement agencies following his arrest.

Earlier, reports emerged that the infamous gangster was in touch with Indian and Iranian intelligence agencies, and was spying for them.

Related article: Death sentence for Indian spy ‘whose goal was to disrupt development of CPEC, Gwadar port’

The court had then handed him over to the police on remand. A JIT formed to probe the case in May 2016 said Uzair had allegedly worked for a foreign intelligence agency, and had recommended that the head of the outlawed Peoples Amn Committee be tried by a military court for ‘espionage’.

The JIT report signed by representatives of the Sindh police, Rangers and intelligence agencies was sent to the home department on April 29 last year for “perusal and necessary action”.

According to the JIT report, cited by Dawn, Uzair was involved in “espionage activities by providing secret information regarding army installations and officials to foreign agents which is a violation of the Official Secret Act 1923”.

Uzair, once known for his loyalty to the Pakistan Peoples Party and close contacts with its certain leaders, was declared absconder in over 40 cases pending before Anti Terrorism Courts.

The Lyari gang war leader, had confessed his involvement in killings of rival group members, including Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) workers, supporters and police officials.

Baloch had further stated that several police officers were also working under his influence and a number of PPP leaders were also in his support.

Around 35 cases pertaining to murder, attempted murder and attacking the police were registered against him during the operation conducted in Lyari in 2012.

He was also declared a proclaimed offender in the triple murder of Arshad Pappu, the alleged leader of a Lyari gang, his brother Yasir Arafat and their confidant Juma Shera, who were killed in Lyari in March 2013.

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