The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has questioned claims by the Pakistan Rangers that Moeed Abdus Salam, the man who was killed in an overnight raid on November 18, was associated with any terrorist or militant group.
In a report submitted to the interior ministry, the FIA has said that the suspected terrorist who allegedly blew himself up in a raid by paramilitary forces in Gulistan-e-Jauhar “had no links with any local or foreign terrorism”, The Express Tribune learnt on Sunday.
The Rangers say that the case is closed but a report by the FIA suggests that there is nothing to prove that Moeed was linked to any militant group or organisation. The report also questions the manner of the Rangers’ raid. Rangers officials said that Moeed was killed when he blew himself up with a hand grenade to avoid arrest when they raided his apartment on the third-floor of Rao Israr Heights in Block 13.
At the time, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik ordered a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the incident but it could not be formed due to lack of coordination between the Rangers and the FIA. The FIA then conducted its own inquiry, which was headed by the chief of Anti-Human Trafficking Circle (AHTC), Azad Khan.
The Azad Khan report, which was submitted to the interior ministry, said that investigators “did not find any link between the suspect and any local or international terrorist outfit and the suspect had no criminal or terrorism record.”
Khan said in reply to a question, “This does not mean that those who do not have a previous record don’t indulge in terrorism but it is something we also consider.”
The report also questioned the mode of arrest. According to the investigators, the deceased used to pray at the apartments mosque five times a day and could have easily been nabbed from there without having to raid the house.
The case remains a mystery as the Rangers did not let any other law enforcement agency have access to evidence or the blast site. When asked, Brigadier Waseem Ayub of the Rangers, said that his force did not stop anyone. “The police registered the case themselves and the doctors performed the medico-legal formalities.” But the case was now closed. “He was a terrorist. What else is there to investigate?” he asked.
Although Moeed held Pakistani and American nationalities, he was a frequent visitor to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Morocco and Mauritania. This may have raised suspicions.
After his death, his parents arrived from the United States (US) to claim his body from the Edhi morgue. They are reported to have said that their son did not commit suicide. They asked that a proper inquiry be conducted.
The father, Abdul Salam, worked as a flight engineer for 18 years with Saudi Airlines. He later shifted to the US with his family when Moeed was seven. Moeed received his education in the US and married Humaira in 1996, who was the daughter of an advocate. So far, the case is in cold storage. It is also pending at Sharae Faisal police station where SHO Chaudhry Azam said that there was no progress in it.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2011.
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