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Six men accused of facilitating slain Taliban chief get Pakistani CNIC out on bail

By Irfan Ghauri

ISLAMABAD: The six men accused of facilitating slain Afghan Taliban supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansoor acquire a Pakistani identity have been bailed out, according to the interior ministry records.

Mullah Mansoor, along with another man, was killed when a taxicab he was travelling in was targeted by a remotely-piloted American aircraft near Nushki district in Balochistan in May 2016.

A Pakistani passport and computerised national identity card (CNIC) were found near the charred wreckage of the taxi which identified him as Wali Muhammad. A DNA test conducted on the body later confirmed it was Mullah Mansoor who had acquired Pakistani CNIC under a fake name.

A subsequent investigation identified six men for facilitating Mullah Mansoor acquire a Pakistani CNIC and passport. But interestingly, all these suspects are now out on bail, while another two persons – a medical officer and wife of Mullah Mansoor – are absconding.

This transpired in a report of FIA’s Crime Circle Quetta which was recently submitted by the interior ministry in the Senate in response to a question raised by PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar.

The FIA Crime Circle Quetta had registered a case under the Foreigners Act 1946 and Passport Act 1974. “On 21-05-2016, an occurrence report was received from IP Irfan Abdul Nabi office in-charge immigration check-post, Taftan. It was reported that he visited Kuchuki where he came to know that one car bearing registration No. ALL-871 (Sindh) was hit by a drone and burnt the vehicle as well as two individuals,” reads the copy of the report.

“On the spot inquiry revealed that a passport No. AB67994622 and a CNIC 54400-0563462-9 in the name of Muhammad Wali were also collected from the spot by Levies authorities. Later, the electronic media reported that out of the two victims – charred beyond recognition – one was an Afghan national and the other a Pakistani, Muhammad Azam, driver of the taxi.”

Interestingly, the report doesn’t mention how Muhammad Azam’s Pakistani nationality had been ascertained.

The FIA Crime Circle Quetta further said the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) had provided the CNIC number of the card near the burnt-out wreckage of the car. The NADRA records revealed the CNIC had been issued to Muhammad Wali, son of Shah Muhammad.

NADRA conducted a departmental inquiry to find out who had issued the fake CNIC to Mullah Mansoor in the name of Muhammad Wali. On the recommendations of inquiry, a deputy assistant director of NADRA’s Karachi office, Faisal Ud Din, had been sacked.

Subsequently, six men were arrested including Sardar Rafique Tareen, a former tehsildar of Chaman town; Aziz Ahmed Khan, a risaldar major of Levies force; Ghulam Mohammad Bugti, former director NADRA; Shair Ahmed, a former superintendent at the deputy commissioner office Chaman; Riffat Iqbal, an assistant supervisor NADRA Karachi; and Malik Mehboob Khan, a local notable of Chaman.

Another two persons – Dr Farrukh Ehsan, a medical officer, and Bibi Shamina, wife of Muhammad Wali [Mullah Mansoor] – had been declared absconders.

According to the FIA report, the arrested men had been housed in Quetta district jail and their signature specimens obtained from concerned departments. The FIA is still collecting records from the deputy commissioner office in Killa Abdullah and the NADRA headquarters in Quetta.

The investigation reports – both interim and supplementary challan – had been submitted before the court adjudicating the case. The court, however, granted ‘confirmed bail’ to all the six accused, the report adds.

It, however, doesn’t say when the bail was granted nor does it explain on what grounds it was confirmed. “The case is still pending and further investigations are under way,” it says.

Mullah Mansoor had been picked as Afghan Taliban chief in July 2015, less than a year before he had been killed. He had succeeded the group’s founder and spiritual leader Mullah Muhammad Omar.

Days before his killing, representatives from the United States, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan held talks to revive a moribund direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The process has been dead ever since.Express Trbune .

 

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