UN experts ask Pakistan to probe Kill List

New Delhi, March 10 : The United Nations (UN) has called on the government of Pakistan to investigate the death of former Senator Usman Kakar and an alleged 'Kill List' that names several individuals to be eliminated, a media report said. The call was made in a joint letter by four UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights dated December 27, 2021, which was made public this week, The Express Tribune reported. The letter urged the government to respond within 60 days, failing which the communication and any response received from the government would be made public and also made available in the report to the Human Rights Council. As of now, the letter does not carry any government response, suggesting that no response has been provided, The Express Tribune reported. Usman Kakar, a member of the Pashtun minority, a former Senator and regional leader of the nationalist Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, was found in his house in Quetta, Balochistan, with blood flowing from a head injury on June 17, 2021. The cause of the head injury is unknown, but there are concerns that he could have been attacked. Ex-Senator Kakar had previously received death threats and referred to them as coming from intelligence agencies in his final speech in parliament, The Express Tribune reported. The joint letter by Morris Tidball-Binz, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions; Aua Balde, the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Mary Lawlor, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, also expressed concern about an alleged 'Kill List'. According to the letter, the list of at least 10 individuals was published in a Facebook post by the former spokesperson of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The post relates to a series of social media posts by a former militant and member of TTP, who surrendered to authorities in April 2017, The Express Tribune reported. The former TTP spokesman claimed in a media interview to have been released from prison following an agreement with the security services. The tweets referred to a 'Kill List' maintained by agencies, and he had been requested to lead a "death squad" to eliminate "some individuals". The former militant also named two officers who had asked him to carry out the task, which "was the only way to secure his release". The TTP spokesperson, Ehsanullah Ehsan, had alleged in a Facebook post in June/July 2021 that while in captivity, he was given a list of about 10 people who were required to be eliminated for their "anti-state activities". The list, according to Ehsan, included former senators Afrasiab Khattak and Farhatullah Babar, a political activist from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Said Alam Mehsud, and Mufti Kifayatullah. Ehsan also claimed that he declined to carry out the assassination orders, The Express Tribune reported. The UN Rapporteurs said that they did not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations, but they are raising concern about the death of Kakar, its circumstances, and the alleged existence of the 'Kill List' containing several names. The Special Rapporteurs urged the government to "provide any additional information" on these allegations, as well as "detailed information on the practical measures that have been taken to ensure the physical and psychological integrity" of those named on the list. They also asked about the measures taken to ensure that human rights defenders and those raising their voice against enforced disappearances in Pakistan can carry out their peaceful and legitimate work, The Express Tribune reported. (Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at Sanjeev.s@ians.in) /IANS


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