Sunday June 04, 2023

Balochistan minister rebuffs accusations of Barkhan murders

Abdul Rehman Khetran says he is a “peaceful and law-abiding person"

By Web Desk
February 21, 2023
People stage a sit-in outside the Chief Ministers House in Quetta, against the murder of a woman and her two children in Barkhan, on February 21, 2023. — Twitter/@Alijanmaqsood12
People stage a sit-in outside the Chief Minister's House in Quetta, against the murder of a woman and her two children in Barkhan, on February 21, 2023. — Twitter/@Alijanmaqsood12

Balochistan Minister for Construction and Communications Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran on Tuesday denied accusations levelled against him of being involved in the gruelling murder of three people after their bullet-riddled bodies were found in a well in the Barkhan district area on Monday. 

Khetran, according to Geo News, denied involvement in the murders and professed innocence by saying: "I am a peaceful and law-abiding person.”

“Accusations of owning a private prison and the murder of three people is a conspiracy to damage my political reputation,” he said, adding that his house was searched by the previous government.

“Had there been a jail, it would have been discovered,” he insisted, “However, if anyone is still in doubt, they can check my house.”

He further said that the allegations were a “sinister attempt” to deprive him of the “right of regional politics”.

The murders

It is pertinent to mention here that the three bodies were removed from the well in the Barkhan district last night and brought to Quetta.

The bodies of the deceased — including a woman and two men — were brought by their loved ones and tribe members to the Abdul Sattar Edhi Chowk in Quetta, following their funeral prayers in Kohlu this morning.

Khan Muhammad Marri, a resident of Kohlu, claimed that the deceased are his wife and two sons.

In a shocking turn of events, an audio message from Marri began circulating on social media in which he alleged that Khetran was the culprit behind the murders.

“I am the heir of the bodies found in Barkhan,” he claimed. “Two of the bodies found in Barkhan are of my sons and one of my wife.”

He then went on the allege: “Five slaves are still in the possession of Sardar Abdul Rehman.”

Following these accusations, the bodies were brought to Edhi Chowk from where they were taken to Fayyaz Sumbal Chowk near the Red Zone.

At the Fayyaz Sumbal Chowk, a protest was staged against the grisly murder, and protesters demanded justice for the families of those killed.

JIT formed

A press release issued this morning said that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had been constituted under the chairmanship of Loralai Range DIG to investigate the murder.

SSP Investigation, Special Branch Barkhan representative and Barkhan DC have also been included in the JIT, which had been given 30 days to submit a report to the government, the notification said.

Balochistan parliamentarians react to incident

As news of the gruesome murders spread, several members of the Balochistan Assembly in Quetta condemned the incident.

Balochistan National Party (BNP) MNA Malik Naseer Ahmed Shahwani condemned the murder and demanded that an investigation be conducted. “A society in which there is no justice will perish.”

Opposition leader Malik Sikandar Khan too denounced the incident, terming it “heartbreaking”. He further said: “Silence on the Barkhan incident is cruel, the criminals should be punished.”

Balochistan Home Minister Zia Lango decried the incident and said, “No amount of condemnation against his attack will suffice.”

He added that the first information report (FIR) of the murders had still not been filed, but that the government “will not turn a blind eye to this incident”.

He further claimed that the provincial government would not succumb to any pressure and that justice would be delivered to the oppressed.

Lango also confirmed the formation of JIT on the direction of Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo.