The alleged kingpin of the Lyari gang war, UzairBaloch, told an anti-terrorism court (ATC) that he was pressurised to join Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and complained that he was being persecuted for his affiliation with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). He was produced before the court at the judicial complex inside the Central Jail from the Mitha Ram Hostel amid tight security. In June, he was transferred by the home department from the prison to the hostel, which the Rangers use as a base, over security concerns. During the hearing, Baloch, who was also the chief of the now-defunct Peoples Aman Committee, said: “I am being persecuted for belonging to the PPP. If today I give up and join the PTI, the charges against me will be dropped.” Complaining the judge that he was subjected to torture and was not being provided with facilities in accordance with the jail manual at the hostel, he requested the judge to order his return to jail for which he was directed to move an application. Earlier in January 2016, the Rangers had announced the arrest of Uzair during a raid in the outskirts of Karachi. Later, a joint investigation team (JIT) was formed to interrogate him. In the meantime, the ATC-XVI judge gave a last chance to alleged gangster Sher Muhammad Sheikh, a co-accused with Uzair in the kidnapping-cum-murder case of two Rangers intelligence personnel, to engage his counsel. Baloch is currently facing charges for around five dozen cases of serious crimes – including murder, attempts to murder, kidnapping, extortion, and terrorism in special courts. Besides, in April, he was sentenced by a military court to 12 years in prison for spying for the Iranian intelligence agencies. In March 2013, Muneer Ahmed Bhutto and Aijaz Ahmed Baloch, both belonging to the intelligence wing of the Sindh Rangers were kidnapped from Lyari, and later their tortured bodies were found in the Mewa Shah graveyard. According to a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report, they were kidnapped by gangster Sher Muhammad Sheikh who had informed Baloch that they were spying on him.