In an interesting twist to the Shahbaz Bhatti murder case, an investigation report has revealed that the Ilyas Kashmiri group had crafted the plan to assassinate the former minorities’ affairs minister.
Bhatti was gunned down by unknown persons in front of his residence in Islamabad in broad daylight on March 3, 2011.
The group had planned to kill Bhatti with the help of Asmatullah Mawaia, the self-proclaimed leader of the Punjabi Taliban, according to a six-page report by the Ministry of Interior, based on the findings of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing Bhatti’s murder case.
“[The plan] was executed by elements of Tehreek-i-Islami, coupled with the disgruntled lot of ‘Ghazi Force’ stationed at Islamabad,” the JIT report stated. Efforts to identify other executors are ongoing, it added.
The JIT report continued to reveal that a man calling himself Shabbir Haidri informed MPA Chaudhry Tahir Naveed by telephone about the plan to kill Bhatti.
Terrorists Umarul-Bashar and Ameer Mawia of Faisalabad and Abu Saeed and Tahirul-Hassan of Islamabad had executed the plan, the report alleged.
They abided by the directions of terrorist Khilji of Ameer-i-Taliban, it added.
The JIT, through its findings, learnt that the actual name of Umarul-Bashar is Abid Malik and he lived in Nai Abadi, Faisalabad. Abu Saeed’s actual name is Qari Ziaur-Rehman, also from Faisalabad. According to the findings of the report, both terrorists fled to Dubai, from Karachi via Sri Lanka.
The JIT also discovered that the actual name of Shabbir Haidri is Nazar Muhammad, a resident of district Narowal, and had been temporarily residing in Akhtar Colony in Karachi.
Haidri was apprehended from Karachi and brought to Islamabad on April 24 for interrogation, which is still in progress.
The report also claimed that as soon as the culprits involved in this high-profile murder are traced, investigation will be concluded on merit.
State Minister for Minorities’ Affairs Akram Masih Gill on Monday demanded the formation of a judicial commission to investigate his predecessor Bhatti’s murder.
The demand was made at a time when the Islamabad police decided to close the case “for want of evidence”. SSP Islamabad Tahir Alam had informed parliamentarians that the JIT interrogated 519 suspects across four districts adjacent to the federal capital, but not a single lead has come about.
The JIT also questioned Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed assassin of former governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, regarding Bhatti’s killing, as well as Tehreek-i-Islami activists, but to no avail, Alam said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2011.