Kharotabad killings: ‘Tattling’ police surgeon silenced

Published: December 29, 2011

QUETTA: The key witness to the Kharotabad incident, police surgeon Dr Syed Baqir Shah, was shot dead on Thursday afternoon while on his way home.

Shah had carried out autopsies of five foreigners, including two women, one of whom was seven-months pregnant, who were shot dead by security personnel in Kharotabad on the pretext of being ‘terrorists’ on May 17.

Shah’s testimony to a committee set up to probe the incident provided incriminating evidence against police and other law-enforcement agencies’ negligence. He had declared that all victims had died of gunshot wounds from the police and Frontier Constabulary weapons, instead of their own hand grenade, as claimed by the police.

According to the police, Shah was on his way home from the Bolan Medical Complex (BMC) Teaching Hospital when two assailants on a motorbike opened fire at his car, killing him instantly.

His companion, sitting next to him in the car, managed to escape unhurt.

Shah was immediately shifted to BMC, but the doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

The police and law enforcement agencies rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area but the assailants managed to flee from the spot.

“The victim was shot at from very close range and suffered five bullets,” doctors at the hospital said.

“He was shot thrice in the head, and the bullet passed through his skull,” they added.

Police chief Quetta Ehsan Mehboob claimed the attack was ‘an act of terrorism’ and said that investigations are under way.

Second attempt

Thursday’s attack was the second attempt on Shah’s life.

The day he submitted his incriminating testimony against security forces, there was an attempt to whisk him away from a roadside eatery by a group of men. The doctor resisted, and was beaten up. He received serious wounds and had to be rushed to a hospital.

The Inspector General of Balochistan Police, Rao Amin Hashim, later confirmed that Shah had been attacked by an intoxicated assistant sub-inspector.

Following the first attempt, the National Assembly’s standing committee on human rights asked the Balochistan IGP to provide security to witnesses of the Kharotabad killings. The Balochistan High Court had also ordered protection for Shah when he disclosed that he had been receiving threats.

Witness protection

Shah’s killing has brought lack of witness protection in the country into sharp relief.

An earlier report by the Punjab government claimed that over 75% of terror suspects were set free in the province, and cited lack of witness protection as the primary cause for low conviction rates.

Shah was not the only witness fearing for his safety – the taxi driver, in whose vehicle the foreigners were travelling, had also testified before the tribunal that his passengers were unarmed and feared reprisal from the police.

The cameraman, who filmed the shooting of foreigners and was initially detained by the police, has also expressed fears for his life, after receiving threats.

Condemnations

Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani strongly condemned the murder and ordered a probe.

The cold-blooded murder of ‘a brave doctor’ is a clear failure of the local administration and law enforcement agencies, said Senator Haji Lashkari Raisani.

The doctor was being forced to change his postmortem report, which he did not, the senator said.

“The police are investigating the murder from all aspects, and also considering the threats which he had been receiving,” the Quetta police chief told the media.

Shah is survived by his widow and two sons, aged eight and fourteen. His body was taken to his ancestral town of Jacobabad for final rites.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (67)

  • Realist.
    Dec 29, 2011 - 4:54PM

    Sigh!
    Murderers will get away with it!
    WHO are they? Thats OBVIOUS!

    Recommend

  • Danish
    Dec 29, 2011 - 4:57PM

    Another medal on the shoulders of “Brave Sons of Soil”

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  • Khurram Mansoor
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:02PM

    What a grave criminal act.

    Doctor killed who is next, the taxi driver, and the constable and the cold blooded murderors go scott free.

    What will become of this country if such grave injustices keep on happening

    I had wwept on the incident

    For God sake the women was pragnent

    None had weapons

    She was waving her hand not to be shot, but they killed them. We all saw it on TV, no body can deny it.

    Punisht he culprit and remember blood never goes silent, the whole nation will have to pay for it some day.Recommend

  • kasi
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:02PM

    Dr Baqir Shah R.I.P

    This country needs more honest people like you

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  • kamran
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:09PM

    And they continue to rule Pakistan RIP Dr Shb

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  • Zia
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:14PM

    Innalilah wa inna alihay rajiyon

    Every one knows who are the culprits.

    I wish if chief justice could take notice of this issue

    May ALLAH accept the deeds of Dr baqar shah

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  • Zahid
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:22PM

    I thought the commission guaranteed them protection….no more witnesses nobody should be a witness….

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  • Lubna
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:49PM

    Who will speak the truth in such circumstances.

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  • Jat
    Dec 29, 2011 - 5:50PM

    How can any one live in this piece of lawless land you call Pakistan ?

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  • Larki Desi
    Dec 29, 2011 - 6:19PM

    if the authorities do not catch the culprits then it would be ok to say that they the authorities are also criminals.

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  • SaudiRules
    Dec 29, 2011 - 6:23PM

    @kasi
    an hour ago
    Reply
    Dr Baqir Shah R.I.P
    This country needs more honest people like you

    I think you mean : This country needs more honest dead people like you
    More honest people so that they can meet an untimely an brutal death? Thugs with the guns always win.

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  • Paki-Australian
    Dec 29, 2011 - 6:26PM

    SC should be dealing with this instead of the memogate!

    What does this indicate to the doctor community for future? Not jUst doctor community but any/everyone else? I hope this marks the turning point in Balochistan/PK.

    Not surprising given thay a popular ex-PM was shot too. Shame on the law & order personnel, Recommend

  • Pundit
    Dec 29, 2011 - 6:55PM

    My heartfelt sympathies to the family of the departed doctor.
    The Govt must ensure a dignified survival to his family.

    The incident speaks volumes about law n order in Pakistan but as an Indian I dont want to speak about that.

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  • Anil
    Dec 29, 2011 - 7:11PM

    The same news form another international source states:
    “Shah was severely beaten by men who he claimed were police soon after he testified before a government commission set up to investigate the deaths. Police denied the allegations.

    But thus bit has been left out so that People like you can pin this on FC

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  • munazza
    Dec 29, 2011 - 7:27PM

    May the departed soul be in peace! May Allah shower His blessings to his family! Is this a way to wash away the evidence??? Who is responsible of this heinous crime??? Obviously our Govt!!!

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  • Alsahdiq
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:21PM

    The murderers will most likely, as usual, get away from justice. True? How will they escape Justice on the Day of Judgement? How? How many people believe in being hauled for judgement on this terrible, terrible day? Not many. How can one know? Look at peoples’ deeds. Their deeds that tell all.

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  • Max
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:25PM

    Rest in peace Dr. Shah. This country is becoming difficult for a hardworking gentle person.

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  • It's (still) the economy, stupid
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:29PM

    One more off the bump list of residents of Balochistan. I wonder how long the list is? Another feather in Pakistan’s cap. No statement from Interior Minister? How come?

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  • Truth Teller
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:38PM

    Sad & Pathetic!

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  • Maulana Diesel
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:40PM

    To all the brave people of Pakistan who are thinking of raising their voice against tyranny and oppression: Let the shahadat of Dr. Baqar Shah be a lesson to you all.

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  • Shami Sajjad
    Dec 29, 2011 - 8:41PM

    I met him twice in my life. a decent person.
    in this country one should not be honest.
    now police and investigations…. all is useless.

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  • hedgefunder
    Dec 29, 2011 - 9:05PM

    It seems that no one is capable of facing the facts in this country ! Why?
    Have the people in this Land of Pure become so impure, that basic desire to seek truth has become secondary ?
    In regards to the Khakis, well they have always acted as if they are simply not accountable to anybody, including the very people who keep them in comfort, while they are deprived, of real basic facilities in their lives. Recommend

  • iamshakil
    Dec 29, 2011 - 9:16PM

    Dr. Baqir has paid the price of his truth and integrity but in exchange of 2 small children as orphan now and a widow. Those who are doing all this type of brutality basically trying to disintegrate Balouchistan on the name of “Quomi Salamati”.

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  • Dec 29, 2011 - 9:37PM

    May Almighty bless his soul and give strength to his bereaved family. People will keep facing such crucification until and unless they decide to reject every juggler . We have become an unguarded herd, manipulated from centuries by dual face people. Probably, one day masses will have to stampede their exploiters, probably. It should resemble somewhat like Marxist revolution. Hope..from people with dual nationalities (Including Imran Khan-PTI) is our illusion, just another illusion.Recommend

  • Akhtar
    Dec 29, 2011 - 9:46PM

    It’s a global conspiracy to demean our armed forces! We all know who they are

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  • A Patriotic Pakistani
    Dec 29, 2011 - 9:58PM

    No witness protection even after a previous assassination attempt?

    There is no future for Pakistan! I have lost all hope today!

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  • TruthNFacts
    Dec 29, 2011 - 10:11PM

    @dilazak1: Excellent comments. You have rightly pointed out the need of a true revolt against all odds, but the sad state of affairs is that people are not united and do not have any true revolutionary leadership. The masses need unity, agenda, and a true leadership to bring a true change.

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  • forgive and forget
    Dec 29, 2011 - 10:27PM

    @Akhtar

    It’s a global conspiracy to demean our armed forces! We all know who they are

    If you know them, why don’t you act against them? Waiting for an invitation from God Almighty or what?

    Recommend

  • TruthNFacts
    Dec 29, 2011 - 11:21PM

    We salute to Dr. Baqir Shah (shaheed) for sacrificing his life for truth and for the sake of justice. He was, in fact, an extremely brave, courageous, and a righteous person who has set a unique example of bravery in these turbulent times just for the sake of truth and justice. He took a bold initiative against the mighty security agencies and fought for the rights of innocent victims of Kharotabad killings. For this purpose, he sacrificed his own life for this dignified cause. Dr.Shah was receiving constant life threats from unidentified sources. The same sources attempted on him a couple of months back and finally they succeeded this time in their malevolent intent. However, it is matter of extreme tragedy that Balochistan government miserably failed to provide him enough security despite court orders and in the light of lifethreats being issued to Dr.Shah.

    People of Pakistan strongly urge Supreme Court to take a suo motu action on Dr.Baqir’s target killing, and uncover hidden forces behind this heinous crime. Honourable Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry sahib, as a son of Balochistan, it is your prime duty to take immediate action and offer justice to victim’s family. Honourable Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry sahib, people demand justice in this case and request you to set up a tribunal comprised of judges from high court. Please order an extensive inquiry of this target killing of such a noble man of high calibre and expose those who are behind this atrocious killing, no matter how powerful they are. Resolution of this case will strengthen the rule of law in Pakistan.

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  • The Missing Baloch
    Dec 29, 2011 - 11:33PM

    Rip Dr sahb. Is there still hope for some betterment in this country. If yes then either of us is insane. This country has become so brutal and inhuman that even the medieval ages look more civilized.

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  • TrueMuslim
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:00AM

    Our armed forces are being attacked from every side. Indians have penetrated into our cities. They are being funded by Americans. Our armed forces protect us but are being suspected by the people for whom they give their lives! Shame on us.

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  • Adil
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:00AM

    The most tragic victim of the kharotabad incident

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  • TrueMuslim
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:08AM

    Missing Baloch

    Look who is talking. Sardars killed people every day. Pakistan brought you justice, development to most backward area.

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  • MS-Mariya Suhail
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:12AM

    Extremely sad at another incident of a brave man being murdered but what is more sad is the response of public. Death of one ordinary man in tunisia brought people on street to protest but here nothing…..

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  • MS-Mariya Suhail
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:21AM

    @Pundit:
    Below incident speaks volumes about law n order in India but as a Pakistani I dont want to speak about that too. You have ugly faces, dark acts and evil spirits to come on our site. You so deserve it.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/india-nun-murdered-fourth-activist-killing-2011-2011-11-17

    http://www.siasat.com/english/news/muslim-woman-rti-activist-shot-dead-bhopal

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  • Danish
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:33AM

    And you know what the irony is. This person won’t even be included in the list of “Shaheed”, becz we call shaheed to only a certain group of ppl. In my view this person is shaheed of the highest category. In the holy book, The Almighty tells us about the highest rankings of muslims, and they are
    1.Anbya
    2.Siddiquin
    3.Shuhuda
    4.Saleheen.
    Dr. Baqir! Please, when u ll be among those, please, please, please, don’t ask forgiveness for our nation, please, please, please, ask for justice, because we don’t deserve forgiveness but rather justice and a cruel justice. May Allah higher your rankings and may Allah grant patience to your family. Ameen.

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  • Hamid
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:37AM

    The Police. I trust my dog more than them.

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  • Bling Bling
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:44AM

    Educated Pakistanis want to leave the country for any other country. Overseas Pakistanis who have educated themselves, who maybe patriotic enough to want to come back, after reading this, will not want to come back. The people who could make a good difference to Pakistan will have left and only the trash will be left behind taking the country back to stone age.

    The government and the army, the least they could do is provide security to the people. I am so sickened and saddened by this news. I cannot think of bad enough things i would like to happen to such criminals.

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  • Bling Bling
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:47AM

    And it sends chills down my spine when i think of what will become of Pakistan where there is no security, justice and truth.

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  • CK
    Dec 30, 2011 - 1:20AM

    He pointed fingers at the police not the army. The army has nothing to do with his murder. The CJ of Balochistan can only pass orders which are never implemented. He should pack up.

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  • Gen. KiyaNaahi
    Dec 30, 2011 - 2:47AM

    It is message to the people who dare take on us. Just like Saleem Shahzad.

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  • Khadim Husain
    Dec 30, 2011 - 6:11AM

    I know tommorow Interior Minister will announce that LJ-TTP killed him, so no investigation required.

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  • HoneyBee
    Dec 30, 2011 - 7:29AM

    @TruthNFacts:
    PCO CJ can not stand against these powerful . . . . .!!!!

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 30, 2011 - 8:33AM

    IG police and Interior Minister should take responsibility if they cannot protect citizensRecommend

  • M
    Dec 30, 2011 - 9:02AM

    It shows who rules Pakistan. Army, police and criminal elements are responsible for this unfortunate situation.

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  • Usman S.
    Dec 30, 2011 - 9:10AM

    WILL SOMEONE TRY TO SAVE THE CAMERAMAN PLEASE!!!
    The murderers will now try to silence the other “Witness” who filmed the incident and brought the heinous muders to the world’s attention.
    Shame on the authorities for not protecting Dr Shah. Disgusting indeed.

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  • aayush
    Dec 30, 2011 - 9:48AM

    @Alsahdiq: oh yes you wait for the judgment day.. and don’t forget to post the “judgement”..

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  • Syed Imran
    Dec 30, 2011 - 9:49AM

    May Allah Almighty rest the departed soul with all His Blessings-Ameen

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  • AM
    Dec 30, 2011 - 10:31AM

    very brave man may he rest in piece in heaven inshallah

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  • Ahmed
    Dec 30, 2011 - 11:29AM

    May ALLAH accept the deeds of Dr baqir shah. Ameen. My condolences to his family.

    Very sad day.

    Shame on IG Police, IG FC.

    Shame on Cheif Minister.

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  • Hasan
    Dec 30, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Innalilahe wa inna elaihe rajiyon. May Allah grant his soul a place in Jannah. Recommend

  • Labiba
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:09PM

    I agree with dilazak1. We require revolution.

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  • Fauzia Naseer
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:13PM

    Mrxist Revolution was a bloosy revolution. May be we require some lighter form of a revolution at least blood less revolution.

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  • Ata ur Rashid
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:24PM

    We want leaders who have roots in Pakistan and no where else to escape. Why Imran Khan is filing a case with election comission to allow dual nationality holder to contest election. Why should’nt he forego his dual nationality and be a pure Pakistani as in the case of army, if a person has dual nationality he has to forego his second one. Same is the case with MQM, PML(N), PPP etc etc etc. We want only pure pakistanis to be our leaders who have every thing on stake with in pakistan, not a single penny outside.@dilazak1:

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  • Salma Agha
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:26PM

    It is a conspiracy of the Jew-Hindu-Christian axis only to discredit Pakistan. Soon it will be discovered that the gunmen were members of the RAW-CIA-MOSSAD.

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  • Harry Stone
    Dec 30, 2011 - 12:27PM

    This same type of attack was conducted against Raymond Davis. The difference is he had a gun and killed those who wanted to kill him first. This cause great outrage within PAK. In this case there will be no outrage. This is just another normal day in the Land of the Pure.

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  • Shahzad
    Dec 30, 2011 - 1:52PM

    May God rest his soul in peace and may his family have the strength to deal with this loss. He was a professional doing his duty to the best of his ability no less then a soldier or Asma Jehangir. Let there be no holy cows whether security agencies or otherwise to undermine his contribution. It is my dream that justice should not be allowedRecommend

  • Fahad
    Dec 30, 2011 - 2:50PM

    Down with Police department

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  • hedgefunder
    Dec 30, 2011 - 3:24PM

    @Salma Agha:
    Yes its only excuse you people can come up with !!! Try to find something new for a change and stop insulting the memory of this very brave man !
    At least for the children and widows sake , use some common senseRecommend

  • that's wrong
    Dec 30, 2011 - 4:41PM

    Who ever killed him, had did it for some other motive. Shah’s death will not benefit the culprits in Kharotabad killings, during their trial because the court will summon Shah’s associate as a secondary witness who would come to the court and recognise Shah’s hand writing on the post mortem reports.

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  • Muhammad Tariq Abbasi
    Dec 30, 2011 - 7:47PM

    Woe unto that nation whose brave sons are killed n humiliated by their human jackals………..whose Cains always get the better of her Abels n yet we think we deserve a better place under the sun.

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  • Saif
    Dec 30, 2011 - 9:21PM

    Allah loves the people who speak the truth and embrace martyrdom for it. I pray that his sacrifice bears fruit, and pray for a dedicated life and a meaningful death for all of us. Amen.

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  • Bilal
    Dec 30, 2011 - 10:03PM

    I’m ashamed to be called Pakistani

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  • Harry Stone
    Dec 31, 2011 - 4:15AM

    @hedgefunder:

    If you lack the courage to recongize the nation you live in, which it seems is very common then the easy answer is to blame someone else. Right not it is the Americans. When the Americans leave. It will be India. And of course it will always be the Jews.

    There has to be reason why one lives in a corrupt and failing lawless state, it surely cannot be the peoples fault as they are all so noble.

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  • Cautious
    Dec 31, 2011 - 6:20AM

    Correct me if I am wrong – your military assassinates your police because they provided forensic evidence against them – this the same military that everyone seem to defend?

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  • Faridullah Khan Afridi
    Dec 31, 2011 - 11:16AM

    I agree with dilazak1. In the height of frustration, I feel the same.

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  • Saad
    Dec 31, 2011 - 2:19PM

    I can’t stop tears coming out from my eyes.

    First, when i read the whole story of Kharotabad incident, the witnessing photo, and the story teller, who told that he will never … and never forget the picture, in which a young pregnant woman was raising her right hand to request stop the firing … and nobody cared, it was an obvious cold blooded murder. I heard that one witness told that all the family members were holding there hands together and reciting Kalama-e-Tayyaba.. I can’t help myself crying for them…

    Then I was reading various news about Dr. Shah meanwhile, i thought he will change his post mortom report, which he bravely did not.

    I often tell my wife that this country is no more for us, she always objected me, but now we are on the same page. Unless, some leader without any greed come and save this counry, ISKA ALLAH HAFIZ HAI…

    WE SALUTE DR. SHAH AND MEN LIKE HIM….

    BUT IT WAS TRULY SAID, WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE THESE, WHO ARE ALREADY DEAD.

    LONG LIVE PAKISTANRecommend

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