Two arrested for involvement in journalist’s murder
QUETTA: Police and intelligence personnel have arrested two suspected militants for their alleged involvement in the murder of Baloch journalist Irshad Mastoi and his colleagues in August last year.
This was stated by provincial Home Minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti at a press conference he addressed along with IG Police Mohammad Amlish and Home Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani on Tuesday.
He claimed that the accused had also confessed to having killed Habib Jalib Baloch, the secretary general of the Balocistan National Party-Mengal, policemen and others.
Mastoi was bureau chief of the Online news agency and general secretary of the Balochistan Union of Journalists. He was shot dead along with reporter Abdul Rasool and accountant Mohammad Younis on Aug 28, 2014 in their office.
Mr Bugti said the suspects belonged to the banned Baloch Liberation Army (BLA). Their statements of confession were presented to journalists and they were also produced before media personnel.
They claimed that their next targets would have been Senator Hafiz Hamdullah of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and the vice-chairman of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons, Mama Qadeer.
The home minister said that initially it was a blind murder case but police and intelligence agencies kept trying to trace the men behind the murders. “They succeeded in their efforts and arrested the accused involved in killing Irshad Mastoi, his reporter and accountant.”
He identified the accused as Shafqat Ali Rodani alias Naveed and Ibrahim Nachari alias Shah Jee.
“They were also involved in 31 cases of terrorist attacks, targeted killings, bomb blasts and other criminal activities,” he said, adding that the suspects were currently still under interrogation.
In their confession statement, the accused gave details of the murder plot and objectives. According to Shafqat Ali, Ustad Aslam alias Aucho was the mastermind of the plot and Sohail Marri the facilitator.
Shafqat Ali said that they walked into the Online office and opened fire at Mr Mastoi. Two other men at the office tried to stop him and he fired at them as well.
In his confession, Shafqat Ali said his group wanted to use the killing in their propaganda at the UN and other forums against intelligence agencies. He added that the plan to kill Senator Hamdullah and Mama Qadeer was made to pit the two factions of JUI against each other.
The home minister claimed that adequate security had been provided to the Senator and Mama Qadeer.
He said that there were several camps of outlawed organisations in Balochistan to train militants, adding that a number of such camps had been destroyed during operations carried out by security forces.