ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR - Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday ordered immediate inquiry into the shocking murder after kidnapping of SP Tahir Khan Dawar, and called a meeting on the issue today.
The army as well as State Minister for Interior Sheryar Afridi suggested that forces other than terrorists might also be involved in the brutal episode.
The slain Superintendent of Peshawar Police’s rural circle was kidnapped from G-10/4 Islamabad on October 26 and his dead body was found by villagers in a remote area of Afghan province of Nangarhar four days ago.
Afghan authorities confirmed the news to Islamabad a couple of days ago and handed over the body to Pakistan officials at Torkam border check post on Thursday, after creating a number of hurdles.
“We will make an example out of those responsible for SP Dawar’s murder and will make sure the case reaches its logical conclusion whether it is in Pakistan or Afghanistan,” State Minister for Interior Shehriyar Arfidi vowed in Senate yesterday.
He said that according to the information they have Dawar was abducted from Islamabad and taken to Mianwali from where he was taken to Bannu and then to Afghanistan.
In a tweet message on Thursday, Inter Services Public Relations Director General Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor said: “Brutal murder of SP Tahir in Afghanistan is highly condemnable. We have lost a brave police officer”.
He said that SP Tahir Dawar’s “abduction, move to Afghanistan, murder and follow up behaviour of Afghan authorities raise various questions which indicated the involvement or resources more than that of a terrorist organisation in Afghanistan”.
The ISPR DG did not name any Afghan state elements or intuition for being involved the tragic episode, yet the message he sought to convey was quite clear.
“While investigations by Pakistani authorities are in process, we reiterate that Afghan security forces should cooperate in border fencing and bilateral border security coordination to deny use of Afghan territory against Pakistan,” he went on to say.
Expressing shock over the killing, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered an immediate inquiry and directed State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi to oversee the matter and report to him.
The premier had shown serious concern about the whole issue and he was angry over failure of the security agencies which could not trace out the police officer after his kidnapping from Islamabad and then his transportation to Afghanistan via DI Khan.
“Have followed the shocking tragedy of the murder of SP Tahir Khan Dawar and ordered Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to coordinate with Islamabad police in holding an inquiry immediately,” Imran Khan said in a tweet.
The premier would chair a meeting in Islamabad today over the issue and receive briefings from interior ministry.
Hurdles in body hand over
Earlier there was confusion about the whereabouts and fate of the kidnapped SP but on Wednesday Afghan foreign ministry confirmed to Pakistan the presence of his dead body in Nangarhar province.
However, the Afghan officials refused to hand over the body to Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in Jalalabad. They handed over the body to Pakistan authorities at Torkham border Thursday evening, again after creating hurdles.
The Afghan officials, initially, refused to hand over the body to government officials and insisted on handing it over to a tribal MNA Mohsin Dawar.
However, later the body was handed over to a 5-member tribal jirga – comprising Minister of State for Interior Sheheryar Afridi, KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai, provincial government spokesman Ajmal Wazir and Ahmad Dawar – brother of murdered SP Tahir Dawar. They had to wait for more than two and a half hours at the border before the body was handed over to them.
State Minister for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi on Thursday held an emergent press conference at Chief Minister House in Peshawar and vowed to take the case of SP Tahir Dawar to its logical end.
Slain SP’s brother Ahmad Dawar, KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai and KP government spokesman Ajmal Wazir were also present on the occasion.
Shehryar said the refusal of Afghan officials to hand over the body to Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in Jalalabad raised several questions.
He questioned Afghanistan’s suspicious behaviour on the issue and condemned their refusal to hand over the body to Pakistan’s “official delegation”.
Today (Friday) a meeting on the matter is being held in Islamabad to be headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said that a briefing would be also given to Imran Khan on the matter.
The minister revealed that last message from the deceased’s cell phone was sent in between 6:15pm to 7:45pm.
He dispelled the impression that the departments concerned did not do anything after the SP went missing. He said that all stakeholders were on board. This is a sensitive issue and everyone should refrain from issuing sleeping statements, he advised.
On this occasion, slain SP’s brother Ahmad Dawar said he was proud of being brother of a martyred police officer. He asked the government to bring the culprits to justice.
“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and pray for the peace of the departed soul,” a foreign office statement issued here said.
According to the statement, after the news of Mr Dawar’s death broke out on the evening of November 13, the foreign ministry and Pakistan embassy in Kabul immediately contacted Afghan authorities for confirmation of the news and handing over of the body.
The Ambassador of Pakistan had asked the Afghan government to immediately send the mortal remains foregoing routine formalities, it said.
“Afghan Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs twice yesterday (Wednesday), and again this afternoon (Thursday) to register our strong protest over the inordinate delay and manner of return of the body.
“Written and verbal demarches were made, which resulted in the visit of an official delegation to Afghanistan, who brought it back to Peshawar this evening,” the statement said.
“It is hoped that Afghan authorities will offer full cooperation in ascertaining the circumstances under which a Pakistani police officer was found killed in Afghanistan,” the statement concluded.
Funeral and burial
The body of the murdered SP was brought from the border to Cantonment in Landi Kotal from where it was flown to Peshawar through a helicopter.
To avoid any untoward incident, strict security measures had been adopted in the area and all kind of traffic remained suspended on Peshawar-Torkham highway.
Wrapped in Pakistani flag, the coffin of SP Tahir Dawar was brought to Malak Saad Shaheed Police Lines in Peshawar where smartly turned out police contingent saluted him.
After his funeral was offered at the police lines Thursday night, the slain officer was laid to rest at Hayatabad graveyard.
KP Governor Shah Farman, CM Mehmood Khan, Corps Commander Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood, IG FC Major Gen Abid Latif, IG Salahudeen Mehsud, State Minister Sheheryar Afridi, KP Minister Shaukat Yousafzai, senior police and government officials, locals and relatives of the martyred SP attended the funeral prayers.
Prior to dispatching the body to Pakistan, funeral prayers of Dawar were also offered in Jalalabad.
Forces ‘other than terrorists’ may be involved in SP murder