PAKISTAN: Call for an international investigation into the Enforced disappearance and extra-Judicial Killing of a police officer
Mr. Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli
President UN Human Rights Council
United Nations, Geneva
Ms. Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Ref: Call for an international investigation into the Enforced disappearance and extra-Judicial Killing of a police officer
Dear Mr. Martelli and Ms. Bachelet
The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), an indigenous movement of Pashtun ethnic population, Khyber Institute for Research & Strategic Studies (IRESK) Paris, a research based organization and International Human Rights Organization-Hong Kong (IHRC-HK), condemn the abduction and coldblooded murder of Mr. Tahir Dawar, the Superintendent of Police (SP), who had always been at the forefront in the fight against militancy particularly against the Taliban’s activities in the country.
The PTM, IRESK AND IHRC-HK, request you to initiate the investigation into the kidnapping of a high grade police officer from Islamabad, capital of Pakistan and subsequent murder after torture by unknown persons. It is pertinent to note here that the dead body was found just two hundred meters away from Pakistani border with Afghanistan.
The reason for demanding the international agency’s investigation is that two countries and their law enforcement agencies are allegedly involved in his abduction and murder so an impartial investigation from both the sides are not expected. Both the countries because of their long standing rivalries are blaming each other and can use their respective investigations for their political benefits.
The civil society of Pakistan and Afghanistan are deeply saddened and condemn the brutal torture, murder and abduction of a valiant police officer Tahir Khan Dawar. He was instrumental in pushing back the Islamic militancy that had taken roots amongst the tribal belts of South and North Wazirsitan – an area bordering Afghanistan. Dawar has endured huge personal tragedy befalling his family and himself. Several members of his family were murdered while he himself had survived two suicide attacks.
SP Tahir had always been at the forefront in the fight against militancy in the country his death and state’s apathy has brought down the morale of the police department as there is a general belief that if someone of the rank and cadre is not safe in the country who is?
The apathy and callousness of state apparatus of Dawar’s murder underscores the lack of seriousness on the part of state machinery to protect its officers.
SP Dawar, who was recently appointed as the chief of Peshawar police’s rural circle, was kidnapped from Islamabad on October 26. Seventeen days later, On Nov 13, his tortured dead body was found from a remote area of the Afghan province of Nangarhar.
Appallingly, despite being notified of his abduction and first information report (FIR) being registered with police the prime ministerial aides and his spokesman, Iftikhar Durrani rubbished the report of Tahir Dawar’s disappearance. While answering the query put forth by a journalist of Voice of America regarding Tahir’s abduction, the minister categorically stated that Tahir Dawar was ‘safe and sound’ in Peshawar.
Moreover, the outgoing Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal told journalists at a farewell ceremony at the embassy that the Pakistani government had not reached out to the Afghan authorities for any information about the missing police official.
The lack of interest on the part of Pakistani government sheds a suspicious light on the role of the state in Dawar’s murder.
Unfortunately, Tahir’s family’s ordeal didn’t end with the discovery of his bullet riddled dead body, the two neighboring countries tried to settle their score over the victim’s body. The Afghan government refused to hand over the body of the deceased, following a two-day delay the Afghan side handed over the body of the officer to his tribe and family rather than government of Pakistan..
The government of Pakistan insisted that the body be handed over to them while the family and Tribe of Tahir demanded that they shall have the custody of their brother’s body directly from the Afghan government. At the occasion of his funeral slogans were also raised against the army and state agencies by the angry and bereaved crowd. As Tahir Dawar was a steadfast officer who was at the forefront in the fight against militancy and fundamentalism he was a staunch opponent of his tribesmen being used as a pawn at the hands of the militants and the military.
The PTM, IRESK and IHRC-HK urge for a neutral and impartial enquiry into the abduction and murder of Tahir Dawar by international experts. As the murder involves two countries, it gives credence to the fact that an International Inquiry Commission should be established by international bodies such as UN to probe and investigate the murder. The circumstances of the murder necessitate that a neutral body intervene as neither the state of Pakistan nor Afghanistan can be trusted to conduct an impartial enquiry.
Mr. Arif Alvi
President of Islamic Republic Pakistan