Four UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights have asked Pakistan to investigate the death of former senator Usman Kakar and an alleged “Kill List” of individuals to be eliminated. The call was made in a joint letter by the Special Rapporteurs on December 27, 2022, which was made public only this week.
In their letter to Pakistan, the rapporteurs had asked the government to respond within two months after which the communication would be made public.
The joint letter was written by Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions; Aua Baldé, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on Minority issues, says Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune.
The letter to the Pakistan government said; “On 17 June 2021, 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. The cause of the head injury is unknown. However, there are concerns that he could have been attacked”.
The former MP had been receiving death threats and in his final speech in the parliament said that these were coming from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.
Regarding the alleged ‘Kill List’, the Special Rapporteurs wrote: “The list of at least ten individuals was published in a Facebook post by the former spokesperson of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)”. Pakistani newspaper Dawn reports that TTP spokesperson, Ehsanullah Ehsan, had in a Facebook post in June/July, 2021, alleged that he was given a list of about 10 people who were required to be eliminated for their “anti-State activities”.
Ehsan said that Pakistani officers had requested him to lead the notorious Death Squads to eliminate some individuals. However, he declined to carry out the killings that had names of former senators Afrasiab Khattak and Farhatullah Babar, a political activist from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Said Alam Mehsud, and Mufti Kifayatullah.
The UN rapporteurs said that they cannot prejudge the accuracy of these allegations regarding the ‘Kill List’ and the murder of Kakkar but only wanted the government of Pakistan to provide additional information as well as detailed information about the physical and psychological integrity” of those named on the list.
The release of the UN rapporteurs letter comes at a difficult time for the Pakistan government considering that it is fighting battles on many fronts – security, economy and politics.
This letter comes on the heels of another UN report that had asked Pakistan to ensure safety of Hindu and Christian girls from being kidnapped, sexually assaulted and forced to marry old men for religious conversion.
Also read: Violence breaks out after Pakistan opens fire on Sindh nationalists