Pakistan ‘kill list’ taken up by parliamentary committee

Insight Online News

Islamabad, Aug 13 : A parliamentary committee in Pakistan has expressed concerns over reports that the names of a number of public figures have appeared on a “kill list” referred to by a former spokesperson of the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and The Guardian last week.

The committee called upon the Imran Khan government to carry out an investigation.

Shazia Marri, the committee’s chairperson, directed the interior secretary to have an early meeting with former Senators Farhatullah Babar and Afrasiab Khattak to take the matter forward.

The names of both the senators figure on the hit list, Dawn news reported.

Five UN bodies, in a joint letter to the government on May 29, 2019, had mentioned the ‘kill list’.

“This is what makes it far too serious to be taken lightly,” Senator Babar said.

The Guardian newspaper carried a report a few days ago about threats of elimination made by some Pakistani dissidents living abroad.

The Pakistan Foreign Office promptly denied the existence of any such list, but mere denial cannot allay suspicions, Babar added.

Khattak said the situation was so alarming that anybody could be on the hit list.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said the case needs to be thoroughly investigated.

Dawn reported that the committee had been forwarded a Facebook post of Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former TTP spokesperson, in which he claimed last month that he had been asked to lead a “death squad” to eliminate “some individuals”.

The “kill list”, according to Ehsan’s post, includes the names of former Senators Babar, Khattak, Syed Alam Mehsud and Mufti Kifayatullah.

Babar said: “Ehsanullah Ehsan is no ordinary person. He is a former spokesperson for Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who later formed a splinter group, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, both designated as terror outfits. He has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in Pakistan.”

The human rights committee was informed that in April 2017 Ehsan had reportedly turned himself in to the security agencies and transformed himself from a “terrorist into a confidant of the agencies”. He had the freedom to give media interviews and made some startling disclosures.

In an interview to Al Jazeera after his escape, he claimed that his release was the result of an agreement that granted him full legal immunity, a personal monetary stipend and a guarantee that he would be allowed to live as a “peaceful citizen”.

Al Jazeera provided a list of his allegations to the military and civilian authorities in Pakistan, but they did not respond, Ehsan said.

After the mysterious death of former senator Usman Kakar in Quetta, Ehsan said his name was included in the hit list maintained by his former handlers.

A few days later through another tweet he gave names of other individuals in the list.

IANS / AGENCY

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