'Prime suspect's killing just proves the obvious' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

‘Prime suspect’s killing just proves the obvious’

Saher Baloch

Karachi: Mohabbat Khan Babar expressed his belief in the adage ‘you reap what you sow’ as he talked about the killing on Saturday of Liaqat Ali, the prime suspect in the murder case of his brother, Geo News reporter Wali Khan Babar, in a police “encounter”.

“He was a criminal; he had to pay for what he did, one way or another… If anything, it makes the nexus between criminals and political parties way more obvious than it already is,” he told The News over the phone.

On May 4, five suspects arrested for the reporter’s murder were presented before an anti-terrorism court. Two more men, Faisal Mota and SM Kamran, were declared absconders.

The court hearing was postponed quite a few times before a final date was settled, mainly because of the accused party’s excuses.

“The excuses differ every time. On some days, one of them gets ill or faints or they don’t like their lawyer and want to change him. At times, the lawyer refuses to attend the court for some reason. It is done to tire me and the judge, but I will press on,” Mohabbat Khan said.

For the past eight months, Mohabbat Khan has been changing homes because of the constant threats he was receiving from “some powerful people”.

After his brother Wali was killed in Liaqatabad on January 13, 2011, the family was survived by five brothers, who were forced to continuously change phone numbers and home addresses to keep themselves safe.

“We already had no father and our mother passed away shortly after Wali was killed,” Mohabbat Khan said. “The double loss can be too much to bear at times, but the family is moving on despite everything.”

The slow progress of the case has led some people to accuse the media of being reticent given that powerful forces could be involved. Hamid Mir, a prominent anchor at the Geo News channel, said most of the people involved in the case were either found dead or were transferred. “This shows that there is pressure from somewhere,” he admitted.

But Mir denied any charges of the media, particularly his channel, of being cowed down. Mir said in one of his programmes on Geo News, he even asked leaders of a powerful political party directly as to whether their activists were involved in the reporter’s killing or not. “They replied that if any of their party activists is involved in the murder, they won’t support him at all.”

The senior journalist said Geo News is continuously following the court proceedings and the Joint Investigation Team’s reports on the murder case. “What needs to be understood is that it is quite a sensitive issue in itself. And we are following the case despite the pressure,” he added.

The News