By C. Andrew
Superintendent of Police (SP) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan Tahir Dawar was first reported missing from his Islamabad residence on 26 October 2018. According to reports, the police officer had arrived in Islamabad along with his driver earlier in the day. He was staying at his home in F/10 and went for a walk at approximately 8PM and never returned. The next day a text message sent to family members from his mobile phone claimed he was well and would be back home soon. After the text message was received, Dawar’s family reported his disappearance to the KP police that contacted Islamabad police and a first information report (FIR) of his abduction was registered at Ramna police station of Islamabad on October 28 under Section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person) of the Pakistan Penal Code. The Capital police also added Section 302 (premeditated murder) of PPC and Section 7 of ATA to the FIR.
It is to note that nothing was known about Dawar’s whereabouts until November 13, when pictures of a badly tortured body, said to be his, were shared on social media. The body in the photo had a letter written in Pashto placed on the chest. A day later, the Foreign Office (FO) confirmed that the body, found by locals in Nangarhar, was indeed of SP Dawar. According to the FO, the Afghan Foreign Affairs Ministry had informed the Pakistan consulate in Kabul that locals of Dur Baba district of Nangarhar province in Afghanistan had found his body, which had a service card on it. Following a two-day delay and hours-long negotiations, the Afghan side had reluctantly handed over the body of the officer to his family, sparking a diplomatic row between the two countries.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan tweeted about the murder of SP Tahir Dawar calling it a “shocking tragedy.” The prime minister orders an immediate inquiry which would be overseen by Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi. In a couple of tweets, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General asif Ghafoor said the brutal murder of SP Tahir Dawar in Afghanistan was highly condemnable. He added that SP Tahir Dawar’s abduction, move to Afghanistan and follow up behaviour by Afghan authorities raised questions which indicated the involvement or resources more than that of a terrorist organization in Afghanistan. He further said, “While investigations by Pakistani authorities are in process, we reiterate that Afgan security forces to cooperate in border fencing and bilateral border security coordination to deny use of Afghan territory against Pakistan”.
The police officer’s body was handed over by Afghan officials to Pakistani officials at the Torkham border. Afghan officials had earlier refused to hand over the body, stating it had to be received by tribal representatives or Mohsin Dawar. The body was handed over to a jirga led by Mohsin Dawar. State Minister of Interior Shehryar Afridi and KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai were also present. During his address in Senate, Shehryar Afridi said, “some people want to destabilize Pakistan.” The minister promised to make an example out of those responsible for SP Dawar’s murder.
It is to mention that the officer lived in KP and he occasionally used to come to Islamabad, mostly over weekends. He could have been easily abducted from KP. However, his abduction from the Federal Capital and subsequent hazardous transportation to Afghanistan has a hidden purpose to propagate to the local and international communities that the Government and security agencies of Pakistan had failed to maintain peace and security in the country. Whereas family of the officer received an SMS in English language about his well-being, whereas, he normally used to send SMS in Pushto or Urdu. This hints towards an involvement of foreign elements in the abduction.
Although the fencing of border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is in progress, however, being too long a border, it is still porous and crossing is not far from impossible yet. Pakistan’s security forces have initiated the process of fencing and has always stressed upon its dire need to stop cross border terrorist’s activities. Those opposing this in fact do not want to stop cross border terrorist activities so as to use it for their own evil designs. The officer was killed in Afghanistan which raises a big question mark on the efficiency of the Afghan Government, the NDS and the International security forces present there.
Back stepping by the Afghan Government to hand over his body to Pakistan Government officially and budging the control to the tribes to hand him over to Pashtoon Tehafuz Movement (PTM) had malafied intention with a purpose. His abduction and killing are being used to take mileage for the PTM. The murder will give an opportunity to PTM to organize more public gatherings and protests against the security agencies and also for creating the divide within the ranks of Pashtoon against Pakistan. PTM is visibly becoming a local arm of RAW & NDS in Pakistan. As soon as news of SP martyrdom surfaced, the controversial MNA Mohsin Dawar attempted to put the blame on Pakistan and pointed fingers at country’s security apparatus. There are unconfirmed reports that Mohsin Dawar held direct talks with hostile Afghan officials and remained in contact with them. Moreover, the officer’s brutal killing benefits the Afghan Government and the NDS, as this was the best way to take so called revenge for the death of Kandahar Police Chief Commander Abdul Raziq which is also suspected to be a misadventure of RAW and NDS.
For the paid and sponsored journalists and the so called liberals, it is very easy to criticize military and security agencies, but a very few realize that these institutions have thwarted hundreds of efforts to sabotage the peace within the country very silently. For few media stakeholders and liberals, it is important to note that when we talk about the freedom of expression, we also need to realize that with this freedom comes a great deal of responsibility.
Tahir Dawar’s case is not that simple since it potentially involves the external hands and elements. The media and the civil society in Pakistan need to look towards the harsh realities in the global game that are being played in the neighboring countries. Afghan government must realize that peace in Afghanistan is only possible through positive engagement and cooperation with Pakistan. India and Afghanistan are unnatural allies. Peace in Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan as it has facilitated US in talks with Taliban. However, it is against the hegemonic Indian designs to destabilize Pakistan by using soil of troubled Afghanistan.