Kharotabad Carnage: Key witness silenced --- forever
January 06, 2012
Police surgeon Dr Baqir Shah, who had worked out the postmortem report of Akhrotabad firing victims, was shot dead by “unknown people” in his car near Golimar Chowk on Sabzal Road on December 29, 2011. Dr Baqir received five bullets and succumbed to injuries in hospital.
A case was registered and a three-member team was constituted to investigate the matter. The team raided several places to arrest the killers. Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) announced a strike in all government hospitals in Balochistan from December 30 against the killing and all outpatient departments (OPDs) were closed down. Dr Baqir Shah was laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard in Goth Tania on Friday.
Talking to media persons, Dr Baqir’s son Syed Aqib Hussain Shah said the provincial government should arrest the killers of his father immediately and award them an exemplary punishment because his father always stood by truth. “My father performed post mortem on the five Chechen nationals. He had requested government protection but his request was not heeded. Who will give evidence in official matters in future at the cost of one’s life?” He appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take action against the provincial government for failing to protect his father.
In his report, Dr Baqir had clearly mentioned that the five Chechen nationals, including three women, were killed by the security forces on May 17, 2011. Soon after this gory incident, the then City Police Officer (CPO) Dawood Junejo and Frontier Corps Col Faisal told media persons that the five Chechens were suicide bombers and were trying to enter Quetta city for terrorism.
Dr Baqir’s report not only falsified the FC claim, but also recorded his statement as a prime witness before the inquiry commission constituted under Justice Muhammad Hashim Kakar of Balochistan High Court. He was first attacked by some “unknown persons” donning police uniform on Prince Road. Luckily, he survived with few injuries to head and body. The provincial government not only dismissed SHO City Police Station, but also Balochistan High Court directed security for him. However, despite court orders, Dr Baqir was provided no security.
Clarifying media reports, Balochistan police spokesman said Dr Baaqir was provided security when he was admitted to Quetta Civil Hospital; however, after his discharge from hospital Dr Baqir surrendered police guards saying that he had no trust in police guards. “His statement was also telecast on TV channels; therefore, there is no truth in the claim that Dr Baqir was not provided security guards,” said the police spokesman. However, facts speak otherwise, as the slain doctor had repeatedly requested the government to protect his life but his request fell on deaf ears.
Dr Baqir’s disclosure that the five Chechens were killed in firing and not in blast falsified the stance of police and security forces. The deceased received several threats and was subjected to worst violence after the postmortem report. However, he did not budge an inch from his stance. Recording his statement with the inquiry tribunal, Dr Baqir said the five Chechens were gunned down by the security forces personnel and not in a suicide blast. He was also manhandled on Prince Road on June 13 at midnight.
Expressing deep grief over his death, Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi and Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raesani directed the authorities concerned to immediately arrest the culprits and bring them to justice.
The doctors associations and political parties held the government responsible for this killing. Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) also staged a protest rally against the killing outside Quetta Press Club.
PTI District General Secretary Nasir Khan Kakar and Joint Secretary Zafar Khilji said Dr Baqir’s murder was tragic and the government should make the motives behind his killing public. They also urged Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of the killing of Dr Shah and bring the culprits to justice.
PPP Balochistan President Mir Muhammad Sadiq Imrani said Dr Baqir’s martyrdom had dealt a serious blow to health sector in Balochistan and the vacuum created by his death would be difficult to fill. In his statement, he said the incident testified to the shameful failure of the police and administration.
Jamaat-e-Islami Balochistan also organized a protest demonstration in Quetta against the killing and life threats to journalists. The demo was led by Maulana Abdul Kabir Shakir, District Amir JI Quetta, at Meezan Chowk. The demonstrators chanted slogans against the law enforcement agencies and government over the killing of Dr Baqir and Chechen nationals.