Uzair Baloch was convicted by military court in April for spying, ATC told

KARACHI: Prison authorities have disclosed that a military court had sentenced Uzair Jan Baloch — the alleged Lyari gang warfare kingpin — to 12 years rigorous imprisonment in April this year after convicting him of spying for foreign countries.

The senior superintendent of the Karachi Central Prison has disclosed this in his reply to a production order issued by the Anti-Terrorism Court-VI (ATC-VI), where Uzair Baloch is facing trial in cases pertaining to murder and other crimes.

“The prisoner in question [Uzair] was convicted by the Lieutenant Colonel Commanding Officer 1st (Self Propelled) Medium Regiment Artillery on 04.04.2020 in Pakistan Army Act Section 59 (civil offences) read with Section 3 (penalties for spying) of the Official Secret Act and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 12 years,” stated the letter dated June 13, 2020, a copy of which is available with Dawn.

The prison official has further stated that the prisoner [Uzair] is allegedly involved in 59 other cases which are pending trial before different courts of law.

Therefore, the court is requested to direct the court police to provide “very, very strong police escort” headed by a senior police officer with foolproof security arrangements and an armoured personnel carrier (APC) for shifting the prisoner to the ATC-VI, located in the judicial complex inside the central prison, from the Mitha Ram hostel sub-jail of Rangers, according to the letter.

Recently, the custody of Uzair Jan Baloch — who was heading the now outlawed Peoples Amn Committee before his arrest — was recently shifted from the central prison to the sub-jail due to security reasons.

The paramilitary Rangers and police were instructed by the provincial home department to take all possible measures to avert any chance of criminal act or threat to the inmate and the staff posted with him at the sub-jail.

Rangers had announced the arrest of Uzair Baloch in a raid on the outskirts of Karachi in January 2016.

Later, a joint investigation team (JIT), formed to hold a probe into allegations against him had concluded that he was involved in spying and providing secret information about sensitive installations to Iranian intelligence officers.

The army had taken custody of Baloch from the Karachi Central Prison on April 2017 to try him on the charges of espionage and leak of sensitive information to foreign intelligence agencies, according to a statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations.

After pronouncement of the verdict, the military authorities had returned Uzair Baloch’s custody to the central prison to facilitate his trial in cases pertaining to alleged murder, kidnapping, extortion, etc pending before different antiterrorism and sessions courts.