KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former petroleum minister, Dr Asim Hussain is likely to be released on personal guarantee as police concluded his interrogation, sources said on Thursday.
The important development in the case comes days after an Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) extended Dr Asim’s remand for five more days after he expressed fears for his life and alleged that he was being tortured in custody.
Sources further said chances of Dr Asim’s release brightened due to lack of solid evidence against him. They however added that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) might take the PPP leader in its custody.
Dr Asim Hussain – a close aide of PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari – was being investigated over allegations of corruption and facilitating terrorists at his private hospital in Karachi. He was taken into custody on August 26 and had since been on remand in either Rangers or police custody.
The former minister was presented in court on Monday, where he requested the judge to privately speak to him in his chambers without the presence of representatives of law enforcement agencies and security forces. But the ATC’s administrative judge Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto rejected his request, directing him to say what he wanted to in court.
“My life is in danger. They torture me, beat me up. I am being tortured so I repeat what they want me to say like a parrot,” he told the court.
Dr Asim said he was being wrongly accused of facilitating terrorists, but that he was innocent. He said that it was a ‘battle of egos’ and ‘somebody else’s dispute’ but that he was being wrongly implicated.
“If all evidence is with the Rangers, then why am I in custody?” he said.
“If they want to kill me they should do so in an encounter. But do not torture me like this. I am a heart patient. If I die, who will be responsible?”
Denying all charges, Dr Asim claimed that a false FIR had been lodged and a serious case is being built against him on the statement of one medical superintendent at his hospital. He claimed that the police was taking directions from “somewhere else”.
Dr Asim, who served as the petroleum minister during the tenure of the PPP government , was taken into custody on August 26 under Section 11-EEEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, and a joint interrogation team was formed after getting approval from the Sindh government.
The Sindh Rangers registered a case against Dr Asim at a North Nazimabad police station last month, soon after the expiry of the 90-day remand that the paramilitary force had obtained from the anti-terrorism court for investigation after his arrest in August.
He was serving as the chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission when he was arrested.