Chechens’ killings: Eyewitnesses contradict official version

Published: June 1, 2011
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A Russian diplomat speaks to the media in Quetta. PHOTO: INP

A Russian diplomat speaks to the media in Quetta. PHOTO: INP

QUETTA: 

A judicial tribunal started its formal investigation into the gunning down of five Chechens by police and Frontier Corps (FC) personnel on May 17. Pakistani officials had declared that the deceased were carrying Russian passports.

The tribunal recorded the statements of four out of 18 registered eyewitnesses. Mufti Abdul Wahid, a resident of the Kheli Khazi area, told the tribunal that he was walking behind the foreigners when he was stopped by the police. “I could not hear what the policemen were saying but their hand gestures showed that they were asking the foreigners to move towards the FC check post on the main highway in Kharotabad,” he said.

Wahid added, “Suddenly I heard a gunshot and one of the foreigners fell down. His companions, including three women and a man, started crying and sat down.”

Wahid explained that an armoured police vehicle reached the site and there was a huge explosion. He said, “Later on, more police and FC personnel reached the site and started indiscriminate firing on the five foreigners.”

Photojournalist Jamal Tarkai produced video footage of the incident which showed a woman raising her hand thrice, presumably as an act of surrender.  Tarkai’s footage also shows the Quetta police chief stopping a policeman from firing while FC Colonel Faisal Shahzad is continuously shooting at the foreigners.

A third eyewitness, Qaseem Subani said the foreigners were walking towards the checkpost when the police opened fire.

Meanwhile, two diplomats from the Russian Consulate in Karachi visited the Bolan Medical Complex (BMC) on Tuesday to identify the bodies. One of the diplomats told reporters at the BMC that the Russian government will not say if the five were terrorists until the judicial tribunal concludes its inquiry. He said, “It seems four of the dead bodies are of Russian nationals. But I cannot officially announce that they were Russian because we have just come here to identify them and take their photographs.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • raza shah
    Jun 1, 2011 - 9:57AM

    Why so much fuss over the killing of these chechens? the security officials didn’t know that they were unarmed,how can we blame the security people when these arabs,chechens,uzbeks regularly blow themselves up at checkpoints? if the FC hadn’t fired & these chechens had blown themselves up then all of us would have been on the back of the security personnel that why didn’t they kill the attackers.Our security people are damned if they do & damned if they don’t .Recommend

  • usman rauf
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:00AM

    Why is our sovereignty only violated when the violators are non-muslims? why don’t we see our anchors screaming & shouting about the arabs,uzbeks,chechens,tajiks who’ve invaded our country & carry out their jihadi terrorism using our land.Why all the outrage is reserved for amreekans,why no media condemnation of the invasion of our country by the arab,afghania,chechen islamic fanatics?Recommend

  • SJ
    Jun 1, 2011 - 11:53AM

    @usman rauf:
    Very well said Sir.Recommend

  • Fawad
    Jun 1, 2011 - 12:34PM

    @raza Unjust killing is unjust. There are no two ways about it. You even give terrorists a chance to surrender, and subsequent to non compliance you still try to capture them alive for various reasons. Human life is extremely important. These people posed no threat. They did not attack. Witnesses have calimed that they were surrendering. There was no reason to gun them down. Even if they were terrorists, our security enforcers are, im hoping, trained enough to tackle them and have security circles and defense lines. This was just beligernet disregard of human life. If one of you or your brothers and sisters were to be GOD-FORBID shot dead on a checkpost in Karachi or Islamabad would that be justified? Would you have the same feelings about that?Recommend

  • sashayub
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:06PM

    @raza shah:
    are you crazy dude? how can we blame the security agencies you ask….? these security agencies are trigger happy idiots who dont know when to take action and when not to…they are so drugged on the illegal money and benefits each one of them received because of their uniform that they treat civilians as animals….it is high time the officers and shooters present at the sight of the shooting be publicly hanged and made examples out of.Recommend

  • Haider
    Jun 1, 2011 - 1:54PM

    @raza shah:
    unarmed chechens, hands and legs tied with ropes, corrupt police demanding dollars at every freakin check post (remember 1 USD = 86 PKR), police wanted the ornaments of the chehchens and yesterday i saw one SHO putting the necklace in his pocket. And you are trying to justify this cold blooded brutal murder!!!
    may their sould rest in peace. (Ameen). Recommend

  • Positive Pakistani (from Karachi)
    Jun 1, 2011 - 2:37PM

    @Haider:
    What do your seeing of a SHO putting the necklace in his pocket “yesterday” has to do with how exactly police have behaved with these foreigners?? …… can you speak some sense? :S….Recommend

  • siddiqui
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:02PM

    countless people have died but this incident is quite tragic…
    a woman pleading mercy and is killed even then… this is quite heart wrenching…Recommend

  • abdul malik
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:02PM

    i saw yesterday on news channel that one damn police man was putting necklace in his pocket……..so damn these people they had killed some innocent people just for few dollars ./ and they said that we are muslim…that is reason now a days pakistan under “aazab”…Recommend

  • abdul malik
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:05PM

    i saw yesterday on news channel that one damn police man was putting necklace in his pocket……..so damn these people they had killed some innocent people just for few dollars ./ and they said that we are Muslim…that is reason now a days Pakistan under “aazab”… soo latest up date is that four witnessess of this accident submitted his verdict.Recommend

  • Raza Mujtaba
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:15PM

    @Raza Shah: Wow!!! seriously you should be proud of yourself, 5 human beings died and you are so indifferent about the whole fact. Are you not reading the eye witness accounts. Are you not aware of what exactly the FC is doing in FATA and Balochistan. I truly wish the same incident happens to your family. I will ask you then how does it feel when I will chant the support for FC and Police. There has to be a difference between animals and human beings but yours is the case of a confused identity i guess. Please stop calling yourself a human being from now on.

    BTW there were 3 children in the van as well. Recommend

  • Chilli
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:40PM

    Urge of becoming hero behing this sorry incident.Recommend

  • saher
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:50PM

    The lady was pregnant, the one who raised her hand thrice… :( sad sad state, it could be that they threatened but the security ppl should have some sense as to how to deal with such a situation. Recommend

  • AK
    Jun 1, 2011 - 3:54PM

    Its time to put these so called armed forces, law enforcement agencies under spotlight. Their budget should be thoroughly audited and they should be punished and even executed for any wrong doings. Recommend

  • Furqan
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:26PM

    @Positive Pakistani (from Karachi):
    It does make sense , that can mean the police officials were corrupt and they killed them on purpose to take there belongings. Recommend

  • Furqan
    Jun 1, 2011 - 4:30PM

    @usman rauf:
    Dear Usman hope u remember that we are a Muslim country and ALLAH has commanded that people should not differentiate Muslim on Cast, country or anythings all must live together so yes no one will remember sovereignty when Muslim enter the country, But yes if a non Muslim does we will defiantly speak against them because it is because of the USA that Muslims from around the world are coming here to enter Afghanistan and fight them. Recommend

  • saeed ahmad
    Jun 1, 2011 - 6:06PM

    A very tragic incident indeed… Sad..utterly sad.Recommend

  • kknovokk
    Jun 1, 2011 - 8:19PM

    Arabs,uzbeks,chechens,tajiks come to pakistan only to get terrorist training. Terrorist trainings organised by ISI & Govt of Pakistan.
    Moreover pakistanis must know that they cannot survive alone in this world. Pakistan must learn to treat others as equals even if they are not muslims. Otherwise pakistan will always remain a begger country.
    For pakistan’s survival it is important to give a logical explanation to the killing.Recommend

  • cidpusa.org
    Jun 1, 2011 - 9:58PM

    Allah states in the Quran one unjust killing is like killing all mankind
    Become true Muslims slaves of Allah
    Each life is preciousRecommend

  • bc49er
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:04PM

    If something like this happened in Indian Kashmir, the Islamic world would have gone nuts (Hindus killing innocent Muslims). But hey, its only Muslims killing Muslims no big deal and besides most Chechens are terrorists….right?Recommend

  • huminky
    Jun 2, 2011 - 12:29AM

    the thing is we can sit here all day and talk about whats wrong or right… but seeing this whole incident from a soldier’s eyes, standing at check post risking his and having seen it all from ruthless bombings in Quetta to God knows what.. we have to understand the situation there.. we are practically in a full time war area and the mindset has been so much affected that its not there fault that they killed these Chechens on doubt. Plus it was confirmed that these foreigners’ visas expired in November last year so what were they still doing here?? also all these witness reports etc. didn’t come up the day of the incident but were brought to the limelight 2 3 days after.. so we have to maintain a balance in out thinking and not just blindly believe what our “media” gives to us.. there are limitations to the amount of information that can be given to the general public. this is exploited by many media and other elements for their own use and to defame out law enforcing agencies and to weaken our prime structuresRecommend

  • Faisal
    Jun 2, 2011 - 4:00AM

    This is just another false flag operation, to fuel the phony war on terror…so the USA can gather support on their belief that foreigners are in Pak creating terror and getting trained. These were five innocent Muslim, regardless of what their nationality was.
    Islam does not differentiate one Muslim from another based on ethnicity, etc.. For all those screaming that these were terrorists, where is the proof? How can a 7 months pregnant woman be deemed a terrorist? May Allah grant these innocents and the unborn, the highest level of Jannat.
    It is the bribed, and corrupt elements that are the greatest threat to the stability of Pakistan today. Mind you, not all are corrupt, but those that are, are used for operations such as this. A true Muslim would not shed the blood of any human being without reason no matter how much he is paid.
    Surely witnesses to this tragedy must have been afraid for their own lives to come forward.
    What if any of us marries a Muslim from another country and decide to live in Pak, does that make our spouses potential terrorists? All law abiding, and Allah-fearing Muslims should be allowed to make Pakistan their home. Don’t we have so many Chinese living here and operating businesses, nobody calls them terrorists.Recommend

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