Kharotabad killing: Key witness says he was intimidated into lying

Driver accompanying the slain foreigners retracts statement, says they were unarmed.


Shahzad Baloch June 13, 2011

QUETTA:


A key witness of the killing of five foreigners by security forces in Kharotabad said the police had threatened him to issue a false statement saying the two men and three women were armed.


Retracting his former statement, the driver accompanying the foreigners killed said the dead were unarmed and possessed nothing but books, clothes and shampoo.

Talking to journalists on Sunday, driver Ata Mohammad said: “I lied under duress that the foreigners were carrying hand grenades. The police threatened me with dire consequences.”

“We were on our way when some police officials intercepted us near the Khezi checkpoint for a search,” said Mohammad. After searching their belongings, the police found nothing except for shampoo bottles, clothes and books, he said. “I was sitting at the checkpoint and an official came to me and said the foreigners are suspicious and took them to the police station. We were on our way when a noisy quarrel broke out and I heard a voice
saying Allah o Akbar and then a police official said “stop the vehicle”. We stepped out and the foreigners tried to run away, the officer fired two bullets in the air and asked them to stop, but they avoided the call and kept running,” he said.

He said the police were chasing the foreigners when they entered a street. There was no sound of an explosion nor did I see any explosives, hand grenades or weapons with the foreigners, he said. “I gave a false statement on May 17, but I did not lie before the judicial tribunal,” he added.

At the tribunal hearing, Muhammad had said he did not see any grenade and explosives with the people, but told the tribunal that he was not facing any pressure from the police.

The person who booked the van from Kuchlak is still missing and no efforts have been made to trace him.

The bodies of Olga, a Russian national, and her Tajik husband Nauman were buried at Jabar Noorul Quran graveyard in Quetta. Nauman’s father attended the funeral prayers. Olga was seven months pregnant when she was shot dead by the security forces.

The other three foreigners killed have not been identified as yet and their bodies are still at the morgue at the Bolan Medical Complex.

Five foreigners, three women and two men, were gunned down on May 17, by the Frontier Corps (FC) and police near an FC picket on International Highway in the Kharotabad area, a suburb of Quetta. The police had alleged that the five were wearing suicide jackets and possessed explosives. An FC official was also killed in the incident.

However, the bomb disposal squad and post-mortem reports revealed that the suspects were neither wearing suicide jackets, nor possessed explosive material at the time of the attack.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2011.


COMMENTS (12)

Mark | 10 years ago | Reply @Hassan Farooqi: I suppose I should not have used such a broad generalization. I complain when people do that, myself. I can only speak with full certainty of is America. The world as a whole can be a pretty nasty place. Your examples are valid except for the Mexican one. People complain about them but, they don't get harmed. Worldwide it could maybe be justified due to border security views. But, though they do have the potential, they reject handling it that way. But, when it comes to America and border crossing it's extremely hard to justify harming anyone trying to cross over. The way the country was created is always an aspect of that judgment. It's hard to turn them away at all in good conscience, let alone hurt them.
Hassan Farooqi | 10 years ago | Reply @Mark. If you are a Palestinian trying to get back to your home when the Israelies have taken over your homes and kicked you out, you will be shot, your wife will be shot, and your infant baby will be shot. All in cold blood by IDF. If you are a Mexican trying to sneak in for a below minimum wage job, and a Minuteman spots you, you will be shot. If you are a Kashmiri sneaking in Indian occupied area to join your divided family, you will be shot by BSF.
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