Government Silence – Diary – DAWN.COM

A MAJOR trial is underway in London in which Pakistan has been repeatedly mentioned as the location where payment was allegedly sent to a hitman for hire. The case revolves around the accused, a British Pakistani Gohir Khan, who, according to the Crown Prosecution Service, was hired by an individual in Pakistan to assassinate exiled Pakistani blogger Ahmed Waqass Goraya, who is now based in Rotterdam ( Netherlands).

Regardless of the outcome, the case has significant implications, not just for the UK but also for Pakistan. On several occasions, the prosecution alleged that a Pakistan-based intermediary approached the defendant with a “job” to kill Mr. Goraya. It was also alleged that the middleman provided £5,000 which was paid into a Pakistani bank account, a photograph of the target as well as his home address in Rotterdam. Another £80,000 would have been promised if the ‘work’ was completed. So far, none of the allegations or evidence has been challenged by the defendant. He has pleaded not guilty to the conspiracy to kill charges and maintains that he had no intention of killing anyone, just to make money.

The case has raised serious questions about a possible transnational murder plot, which on the face of it appears to have been initiated by elements/individuals in Pakistan. Despite these implications, there is a deafening silence in Pakistan. Authorities have not said a word about the revelations made to the British court, which include the name of the middleman as well as a bank account and receipt for the money transfer.

It is not known if Islamabad is in contact with London about this individual, or if efforts are underway to determine the identity of this middleman and his boss. The UK and Pakistan have signed mutual legal assistance documents, which facilitate the exchange of information between the police of the two countries in such cases. MPs have been used in cases in the past, including the murder of Imran Farooq, to ​​prosecute individuals. Are these mechanisms exhausted to catch the alleged culprits?

The fact that the Dutch and British authorities are taking the matter seriously should prompt Pakistan to act. Unfortunately, apart from MP Mohsin Dawar raising it in parliament, there is no discussion of the case, which is built around an alleged murder plot targeting a Pakistani dissident overseas. The government must demonstrate that it respects freedom of expression and human rights, and bring any perpetrators to justice.

Posted in Dawn, January 24, 2022

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