Pakistani police probe minister after killing of journalist

In this file photo, journalists participate in a demonstration to mark the World Press Freedom Day in Islamabad on May 3, 2020. Pakistan is considered to be one of the most dangerous places for journalists, and attacks on them are not uncommon. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 25 July 2020

Pakistani police probe minister after killing of journalist

  • The family of Anwar Jan accused a minister in Balochistan province of hiring gunmen to kill him
  • Jan was killed by two gunmen as he was walking to his home in the town of Barkhan on Thursday

QUETTA: Pakistani police said Saturday they were investigating the shooting death of a local journalist to determine whether a provincial minister was behind the killing.

The development comes a day after the family of Anwar Jan accused Abdul Rehman Khetran, a minister for food in Balochistan province, of hiring gunmen to kill Jan on Thursday.

Police officer Abdul Aziz said a murder investigation has been opened into Khetran's possible involvement. Khetran has denied being involved, saying the gunmen blamed by Jan's family for killing him were not his men.

Repeated attempts to reach Khetran for comment were unsuccessful.

Jan was killed by two gunmen as he was walking to his home in the town of Barkhan. His family insists Khetran ordered Jan's murder in retaliation for Jan exposing alleged corruption.

Pakistan is considered to be one of the most dangerous places for journalists, and attacks on them are not uncommon.

Anwar Jan's killing comes days after prominent Pakistani journalist Matiullah Jan, who is unrelated, was abducted in broad daylight in the capital Islamabad. His abductors freed him in a deserted place 12 hours later.

The government has not said who was behind Matiullah Jan's abduction.

Also on Saturday, Pakistan's military said gunmen opened fire on a security vehicle as it patrolled the area of Pidarak in Balochistan, killing a soldier and wounding three others.

The military said troops in a raid elsewhere in Balochistan killed a key leader of the separatist Baluch Liberation Army and foiled a possible attack by seizing a cache of weapons.

Baluchistan has for years been the scene of a low-level insurgency by separatists who complain of discrimination and demand a fairer share of the province’s resources and wealth. Militants also have a presence in the province.


Pakistan opposition draws thousands to capital to protest ruling party’s ‘foreign funds’ case 

Updated 19 January 2021

Pakistan opposition draws thousands to capital to protest ruling party’s ‘foreign funds’ case 

  • The Pakistan Democratic Movement urged the election commission to promptly announce its verdict in the case
  • The interior minister said the opposition alliance failed to attract large number of people to the protest demonstration 

ISLAMABAD: An alliance of Pakistani opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), held a protest rally today, Tuesday, outside the election commission which is hearing a case involving alleged illegal foreign funding for Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. 

The case was filed in November 2014 by a founding PTI member, Akbar S Babar, who claimed massive financial irregularities in the handling of foreign funds by the party that amounted to about $3 million. 

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has still not adjudicated the matter, making the PDM leadership criticize it for “the inordinate delay.” 

“Neither is this government elected nor has it any right to rule the country,” the opposition alliance chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said while addressing the participants of the rally in Islamabad. 

He accused the prime minister of contesting the 2018 elections after taking “funds from Israel and India,” adding that the foreign funding case was pending for the last six years even after a revelation by the State Bank of Pakistan that the PTI had 23 “hidden accounts.” 

Rehman said the ECP had held about 150 hearings in the case, noting that the PTI filed 50 applications for its deferment and that the nation was still awaiting the judgment. 

“Some powerful institutions had occupied the election system and brought an incompetent person to power,” he said. “They are now running the government from behind the scenes.” 

Criticizing the ECP, he said: “If this weak election commission provides them [the ruling party] protection, we won’t be able to trust it in the next elections.” 

Rehman said that no country in the world, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, was willing to trust Pakistan due to the government’s “poor foreign policy.” 

“We will continue our struggle [against the government] within the legal and constitutional ambit,” he added. 

The opposition alliance has frequently accused the PTI of coming into power by manipulating the 2018 elections and promised to dislodge through public support. The government denies the charge of election rigging. 

Addressing the protest demonstration, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Sharif also accused the prime minister of getting funds from India and Israel and using for his 2014 sit-in to overthrow an elected government. 

“Do you know who funded him from India? Bharatiya Janata Party member Inder Dosanjh. And the Israeli who funded him was Barry C. Schneps,” she claimed, adding that “countless” such people and companies from Israel and India had funded the PTI. 

Mocking the ruling party’s statement in the foreign funding case in which it blamed its agents in the US for any possible illegal funding, she asked the prime minister should also reveal the names of the “agents who brought you into power.” 

Lambasting the ECP, she said the election commission was “part of the crime of selecting an unqualified person and bringing him to power.” 

Pakistan Peoples Party’s senior leader Faisal Karim Kundi said that the PTI had admitted that its agents accepted the funds from foreign countries and companies. 

“If the agents had done something wrong, it means that the PTI is involved in it,” he said, urging the ECP to give its judgment in the case. “The verdict will prove which enemy countries had funded the PTI,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Islamabad’s local administration had beefed up the federal capital’s security to avert any untoward incident during the opposition’s protest demonstration. It had deployed over 1,800 security personnel to maintain the law and order besides identifying alternate routes to ensure smooth flow of traffic. 

Responding to the opposition’s protest, Federal Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed termed it a “disappointing and poor” show and claimed that the opposition alliance had failed to attract a large number of protesters to its demonstration. 

“We welcome your long march [toward Islamabad] after this today’s show, and that will be your last show [of power],” the minister said, admitting that the opposition had all the right to address public gatherings. 

He also rejected the opposition’s accusations regarding Israel and India. 

“They [the opposition] were given a free hand [to protest outside the ECP], and they have been exposed,” he said. “We are waiting for their long march now.”