The trial of Gohir Khan for the attempted murder of Waqas Goraya, the acitivist and blogger who claimed asylum in 2017, and who has been based in Rotterdam, shows that Pakistan must help the UK find who is the ‘big fish’ who actually put out the contract for the hit. Mr Khan, the accused, is charged with going to Rotterdam for the attempt and make preparations, which included the alleged purchase of a knife, he is being tried by the crown court in KIngston-Upon-Thames, which indicates how seriously the UK takes such matters. That is indicated by how the UK was ready to jeopardise diplomatic relations with Russia over the attempted assassination of former KGB agent Sergei Skripal in 2018, or the 2016 murder of ex-KGB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko.
Before the UK begins to apply any pressure to Pakistan, it would be best if the government began to cooperate, and provide the necessary information about who was able to offer Mr Khan £100,000, of which £20,000 was to be kept by the middleman.
The prosecution case was focused on Mr Khan, but it did show that he made the attempt at the behest of someone who was emailing him in Pakistan. National post-colonialist independence is a fine thing, but it does not mean the freedom to rub out anyone, citizen or not, who has sought asylum. The death of a Pakistani Baloch activist, Kasrima Baloch in Canada by drowning is another example of someone critical of certain institutions and then fleeing abroad, dying violently.
The government itself should be interested in uncovering such persons, not just because the violent deaths of its nationals abroad portrays it in a poor light, but because it cannot tolerate anyone in Pakistan carrying out such activities. The example of Russia should be in front of us: even though headed by an ex-KGB man, it does it no good for it to be thought responsible for assassinating those thought to have betrayed the KGB and fled abroad. Dissidents and critics would be even less acceptable as targets for hired killings.