–PM Imran Khan calls for investigation into killing of senior Peshawar cop who was abducted from Islamabad and found dead in Afghanistan
–Pakistan Army spokesman says incident indicates to involvement or resources more than that of a terrorist outfit in Afghanistan
–Afghan authorities hand over slain SP’s body to Pakistani officials after initially insisting on giving its custody to MNA Mohsin Dawar
—Interior Minister Afridi tells Senate SP Tahir was taken to Afghanistan via Bannu, says Safe City cameras failed to identify abductors’ vehicle
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan called for an investigation into the murder of Peshawar Rural Superintendent of Police (SP) Tahir Khan Dawar, who was abducted from Islamabad last month and found killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday, as the martyred police officer’s body was handed over to Pakistan at the Torkham border on Thursday.
The body was received by Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Mohsin Dawar and elders of the Dawar tribe. Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai were also present at the Torkham border.
Later on, funeral prayer of SP Tahir Dawar was held at Peshawar’s Police Lines while the officer was reportedly laid to rest in the Hayatabad area of the city.
The Afghan authorities had initially refused to hand over SP Tahir’s body to the Pakistani government ministers, saying they had been told to give its custody to MNA Mohsin Dawar. After negotiations between the two sides, the Afghan officials agreed to hand over the body to the government officials. The martyred police officer’s body was then dispatched to Peshawar for his funeral.
SP Dawar, who was chief of Peshawar police’s rural circle, was kidnapped in the G-10/4 area of Islamabad on October 26, and his body was found in a remote area of the Afghan province of Nangarhar.
PM SEEKS REPORT:
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran shared on Twitter that he has followed the news of SP Tahir’s murder closely and has ordered the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government to coordinate with Islamabad police and investigate the incident.
“Minister of State for Interior Shahryar Afridi has been tasked to oversee it with an urgency and present the report to me,” he announced.
Have followed the shocking tragedy of the murder of SP Tahir Khan Dawar & ordered KP govt to coordinate with Islamabad police in holding an inquiry immediately. MOS Interior Shahryar Afridi has been tasked to oversee it with an urgency & present the report to me.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 15, 2018
In response to the PM’s tweet, MNA Mohsin Dawar said: “We reject an internal inquiry. We know that our investigation authorities can’t question ‘certain powers’. This murder involves two countries, and thus requires an International Inquiry Commission. Only the findings of such a body will be acceptable to us.”
ISPR CONDEMNS MURDER:
Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor said that the brutal murder of SP Tahir Dawar in Afghanistan is highly condemnable.
In a series of tweets, the ISPR DG said SP Tahir Dawar’s abduction, move to Afghanistan and follow up behaviour by Afghan authorities raised questions which indicated the involvement or resources more than that of a terrorist organisation in Afghanistan.
The military spokesman reiterated that while investigations by Pakistani authorities were in process, Afghan security forces should cooperate in border fencing and bilateral border security coordination to deny the use of Afghan territory against Pakistan.
FO REGISTERS STRONG PROTEST:
The Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson said that after the news of Dawar’s death broke out, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul immediately contacted Afghan authorities for confirmation of the news and handing over of the body of the deceased to Pakistan.
The spokesperson further said that the Afghan envoy in Islamabad was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs twice on Wednesday, and again Thursday afternoon to register a strong protest over the inordinate delay and manner of return of the body.
The spokesperson hoped that Afghan authorities will offer full cooperation in ascertaining the circumstances under which a Pakistani police officer was found killed in Afghanistan.
‘SP TAHIR WAS TAKEN TO AFGHANISTAN VIA BANNU’:
Speaking in the Senate before departing for Torkham border, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said that his ministry has just begun receiving details of the case, and it was revealed that SP Tahir was taken from Islamabad to Punjab via Mianwali and then to Bannu.
“We got to know of his disappearance on Oct 26 through intelligence and other sources,” he said.
“There is no patrol on the Afghan side of the border, an issue that has been brought up with the Afghan government multiple times,” he asserted, adding that this is not the first incident of this sort to occur, as Pakistan and Afghanistan share a penetrable border.
“Many of our men have been picked up this way, and later their bodies were recovered from the other side of the border.”
He added that the government will “make an example out of those responsible for SP Dawar’s murder”, and make sure that the case is resolved, “be it in Pakistan or Afghanistan”.
‘AT LEAST 600 SAFE CITY CAMERAS NON-FUNCTIONAL’:
He also criticised the Safe City project, under which CCTV cameras were installed in major cities of Punjab, claiming that no cameras installed under the project can identify the number plate on a vehicle or a face.
“Of the 1,800 cameras installed in the capital, at least 600 are non-functional,” he said, demanding an inquiry into the purchase of cameras for the project.
“The nation should know where their money is being spent and the political party that benefited off this project should also be made accountable,” he stressed.
In response, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani gave Afridi a go-ahead for the investigation since it fell into the mandate of his ministry. Afridi, however, added that he merely wished to bring up the issue in Senate, so he wouldn’t be accused of “targeting a particular political party”.
Then, he called for consensus in the House, stressing that it was the responsibility of the state to “protect lives and property of all Pakistanis”.
On Wednesday, the FO had confirmed that the rural superintendent’s body had been identified in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan along with his service card. It was said that his body is expected to be handed over to KP police through the Torkham border on Thursday.
Surprisingly, outgoing Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal told journalists at a farewell ceremony at the embassy on Wednesday that the Pakistani government had not reached out to the Afghan authorities for any information about the missing police official.
“How did a police officer disappear from Islamabad and turn up dead in Afghanistan?” he asked, urging the leadership of both countries to “sit together” and talk about SP Tahir’s murder.
Photos of the SP’s badly tortured body with a hand-written Pashto letter placed on his chest, purportedly written by a yet unidentified militant group, went viral on social media on Tuesday before police could officially confirm the happening, but a senior official said a “source” had informed them of the tragic news.
SP Tahir, a police officer who had survived two suicide attacks in Bannu, was kidnapped from Islamabad’s G-10/4 area on Oct 26. The next day a text message sent to family members from his mobile phone claimed he was well and would be back home soon. After the text message was received, Dawar’s family reported his disappearance to the KP police that contacted Islamabad police and an FIR was lodged.
According to the FO, the Afghan Foreign Affairs Ministry had informed the Pakistan consulate in Kabul that locals of Dur Baba district of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan had found Tahir’s body, which had a service card on it.