Kharotabad killings probe: Photojournalist pressured to contradict his own photos

Jamal Tarakai says security officials threatening him over his testimony.

Qaiser Butt June 10, 2011


A photojournalist from Balochistan, who testified before the Kharotabad killings judicial tribunal, is being pressured by police and security officials over his statement.

“I am being chased by vehicles with tinted windows after I testified before the tribunal,” says Jamal Tarakai, who was one of the first people to register as private witnesses after the Balochistan government established the tribunal.

He has presented evidence that negates the claims of Frontier Constabulary (FC) and police officials that the five foreigners they brutally gunned down in Kharotabad were on a suicide mission.

Tarakai has given the tribunal footage and a video film of the incident that shows one of the three women raising her hands three times, presumably appealing the FC and police to stop firing. The video has been broadcast by many TV channels after Tarakai presented it before the tribunal. FC and police have not contradicted the events shown in the video. He also told the tribunal that the foreigners, four Russians and one Tajik, were unarmed.

‘No regrets’

But despite the threats, Tarakai says he does not regret exposing the unlawful action by police and FC personnel. “Security officials and police have threatened [other] independent witnesses for appearing before the tribunal,” he said.

Tarakai says he has brought the situation into the knowledge of the tribunal but is still receiving threatening phone calls. “My family and I are under mental torture. My wife stays awake all night due to the stress,” he says. “We are in a very difficult situation and need protection against security officials.”

Obstructing justice

Resentment against security forces is rampant in Balochistan, where people believe the agencies are responsible for enforced disappearances of political workers and student leaders.

In this case, many believe security forces are making attempts to influence the investigations.

“Officials, including police, are trying to influence the judicial probe ordered by the government of Balochistan,” a senior journalist from Balochistan told The Express Tribune, requesting anonymity for fear of security.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2011.


Faisal | 10 years ago | Reply Please Jamal Taraki do not be afraid to talk the truth. You are a brave man and we need more like you in this country. Speaking the truth is your moral duty to the memory of the innocent men and women who were brutally murdered by those who we expect to protect us. May Allah protect you and keep you safe.
Talat Haque | 10 years ago | Reply The Judiciary should warn the security agencies and the police of any harm coming to Jamal Taraki ........... the heads of these organizations should be told they will be held accountable if anything should happen to him (God forbid)
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