A Pakistani parliamentary committee has ordered for a probe into a so-called “kill list” that mentions a number of public figures in the country, days after a former Taliban operative verified its existence and a leading British newspaper reported it.
The Committee, headed by Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Shazia Marri, has directed the Interior Secretary to have an urgent meeting with senators Farhatullah Babar and Afrasiab Khattak for their inputs in the probe, reported the Dawn newspaper on Friday. The names of both senators figured on the “kill list”.
The panel has forwarded a month-old Facebook post of former Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan, in which the “kill list” is clearly mentioned.
In the post, Ehsan said he was asked to lead a “death squad” to eliminate “some individuals”.
The “kill list”, according to Ehsan, included the names of former senators Farhatullah Babar, Afrasiab Khattak, Syed Alam Mehsud and Mufti Kifayatullah.
Farhatullah 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, Jamaatul Ahrar, both designated as terror outfits. He has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly attacks in Pakistan.”
The parliamentary committee was informed that in April 2017 Ehsanullah Ehsan turned himself in to the security agencies and transformed from a “terrorist into a confidant of the agencies”.
With freedom to interact with the media, Ehsan recently made some startling disclosures.
In an interview to Al Jazeera news channel, Ehsan details how he left the high-security detention centre.
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’.
Ehsan said he has provided a list of inputs to the military and civilian authorities, though they are yet to act on them.
Referring to the mysterious death of ex-senator Usman Kakar in Quetta on June 21, Ehsan said Senator Kakar’s name was included in the “hit list”.
A few days later, through another tweet, Ehsan gave names of other individuals on the list.
“Usman Kakar’s family has already alleged foul play and claims that he was murdered. The provincial government (of Baluchistan) formed a judicial commission to probe the matter, but disbanded it after the family declined to appear before it for reasons of trust,” Farhatullah Babar said.
“In view of this background, we are deeply concerned over the hit list as it contains our names too,” he said.
Five United Nations” bodies, in a joint letter to the Pakistan government on May 29, 2019, had mentioned the “kill list”.
“This is what makes it far too serious to be taken lightly,” said Senator Babar.
The Guardian newspaper of the UK carried a report a few days ago about death threats being made by some Pakistani dissidents living abroad.
The Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) promptly denied the existence of any such list. However, mere denial cannot allay suspicions, the FO had noted.
Former senator Afrasiab Khattak said the situation is alarming and that anybody could be on the hit list.
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said the case needs to be thoroughly investigated, reported Dawn.