‘Political’ militants were given refuge on Dr Asim’s orders, says Ziauddin Hospital official

Px30-042 KARACHI: Nov30 - Policemen escorting former Federal Minister for Petroleum Dr Asim on the day of his hearing at Anti Terrorist Court. ONLINE PHOTO by Sabir Mazhar

Ziauddin Hospital’s Deputy Managing Director Dr Yousuf Sattar on Monday told a court that ‘political militants’ were given refuge at the hospital on former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain’s orders.

“Some political militants were also given a hideout in the hospital,” Ziauddin’s deputy managing director said before a central district judicial magistrate in Karachi.

Dr Sattar alleged that on instructions of Dr Asim, a close confidante of PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, several ‘political’ militants were treated at discounted rates.

“Some MQM leaders used to call me in order to influence me to provide medical assistance to terrorists injured in clashes with rivals and law enforcers,” he added.

Dr Asim, who is in police custody on a physical remand in connection with terrorism charges, was also present in a local court, where the witness [Dr Yusuf Sattar] recorded his statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC).

The judicial magistrate made his statement a part of the ongoing case against Dr Asim. The sealed statement will be sent to an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Karachi, where a hearing of the case is being conducted.

Dr Yousuf Sattar had been detained by the law enforcement agencies on August 29 after a raid was carried out at his office in North Nazimabad, Karachi. Dr Yousuf Sattar is said to be a close aide of Dr Asim, who was detained over corruption charges on August 26. Dr Sattar has been associated with the Ziauddin Hospital for the past 15 years.

The Karachi ATC had remanded Dr Asim in police custody on Thursday over accusations of harbouring and aiding terrorists. The suspect’s 90-day preventive detention with Rangers had expired a day earlier. The administrative judge of the Karachi ATCs handed over the custody of the former federal minister to police for four days for further interrogation after hearing heated arguments from both sides.

Last week, a case involving terrorism charges was registered against the former federal minister a day before he was presented before the ATC in Karachi. Dr Asim was arrested in August this year by the paramilitary Rangers in a raid at his office. He was then serving as the chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission.

Accused of embezzling public funds and financing terrorism, the former minister was detained under Section 11-EEEE of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which empowers security and law enforcement agencies to grill any terror suspect for up to three months.

Later, the Karachi-based ATC extended the judicial remand of Dr Asim by 7 days after a request for extension of his remand had been filed by the law enforcing agencies.

Earlier, prosecutors of the National Accountability Bureau, where another case is being investigated against the former minister, requested the ATC judge not to extend the duration of his remand but the court refused their plea and ordered them to continue their investigations in the case.

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