Usman Kakar who was attacked in his home and killed allegedly with the involvement of Pakistan's intelligence agencies, led by the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence (Pic: Courtesy/Twitter@nazranayusufzai)
This was unprecedented in Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people attended the funeral of former Pakistani opposition politician Usman Kakar in his home town of Muslim Bagh in Balochistan Province. At the mass gathering on June 23, Kakar's family and members of his Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) said he had been attacked in his home and alleged that Pakistan's intelligence agencies, led by the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were involved in his killing.
Prominent leader and member of Pashtun-Tahafuz-Movement and member of National Assembly tweeted that, “The funeral of #ShaheedUsmanKakar was the biggest gathering I have attended in my life. The message is loud & clear, every person in this crowd is Usman Kakar. Killing Usman lala did not silence him, it only amplified his message of rejecting violence and state oppression.”
The funeral of #ShaheedUsmanKakar was the biggest gathering I have attended in my life. The message is loud & clear, every person in this crowd is Usman Kakar. Killing Usman lala did not silence him, it only amplified his message of rejecting violence and state oppression. pic.twitter.com/FyX4yBiVAl— Mohsin Dawar (@mjdawar) June 23, 2021
Usman was a staunch critic of Pakistan’s powerful military and intelligence agencies. Kakar, who had mentioned receiving death threats, had openly criticised the military, accusing it of meddling in politics and undermining human rights. The Pakistani military has always rejected such allegations as baseless.
In a shocking revelation, Liaqat Ali, the former public face of the militant Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and better known by his pseudonym Ehsanullah Ehsan has accused Pakistani spy agency ISI for Usman Kakar’s murder. He said his name was in the hit list of the ISI. In an audio interview with the Tribal News, “After escaping from the clutches of Pakistani army, I had told many journalists about the hit list prepared by the army and Usman Kakar’s name with few other names were there. I had asked a journalist to convey this to Kakar Saheb and he mentioned this in the assembly also,” adding that he said there is a long list with many names whom the army wants to ‘silence’.”
Ehsan mentioned that he was under “arrest” of the ISI’s Commander Majid and he told him about the hit list. There were names of the journalists, activists and Baloch and Pashtun leaders who were known critics of the security establishment. The army is very worried about the unrest among Pashtuns in the Pakhtunkhwa region and it wants to get rid of those leaders. He said he is ready to give a statement in front of an independent enquiry but the army won't let any impartial investigation.
Ehsan reportedly joined Tehreek-e-Taliban in 2008 as a college student and eventually became the mouthpiece of the terror group. The former spokesman was one of the most notorious Pakistani Taliban leaders during the height of the group’s bloody war against the Pakistani state.
When a faction of TTP parted ways with the terrorist organization and established Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) in 2014, Ehsan became that new group's spokesman. The United States placed Juan on a list of specially designated global terrorist organizations in 2016.
Ehsan was TTP's spokesman for nearly a decade, issuing statements and holding press conferences in the group's stronghold near the Afghan border. He proclaimed TTP's responsibility for deadly bombings and attacks, including the 2012 shooting of education activist Malala Yousafzai.
Ehsan reportedly surrendered himself to Pakistan's intelligence agency in April 2017. He then confessed on a video released by Pakistani authorities that he had been involved in terror activities and took responsibility for orchestrating a series of deadly terror attacks on behalf of JuA and TTP across Pakistan.
Last year, he escaped from a military-run safe house in an affluent neighbourhood of the north western city of Peshawar. According to Pakistani observers, while in custody, Pakistan’s military was provided with a detailed list of the allegations made by Ehsan which he denies. He denies persistent media reports that he aided Pakistan’s intelligence services by providing information that led to the capture or killing of several high-profile Pakistani Taliban leaders in recent years, including its chief Fazlullah. Now he is in the “hit” list not only of TTP but also of Pakistani security agencies.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government has decided to name a road in Kabul after Usman Kakar of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party to honour the political struggles of Usman Kakar.