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National

February 26, 2018

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Personal issues behind murder of tribal youth, suspect police

PESHAWAR: The preliminary investigation into the murder of one of the active participants of the recent Pashtun protest sit-in in Islamabad has revealed that the motive behind the killing seems to be some personal issues, officials said on Sunday.

Aftab Mahsud, a student of Gomal University was one of the active participants of the sit-in staged by Pashtuns from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) to demand arrest of SSP Rao Anwar Ahmad Khan, the main accused in the January 13 murder of Naqeebullah Mahsud in a fake police encounter in Karachi. Aftab Mahsud's body was found in an under-construction building in Naqshband Town in the limits of the Saddar Police Station in Dera Ismail Khan the previous day.

"The police recovered empties of 9 mm pistol from the spot. We have been investigating the case on priority basis. And pieces of evidence collected so far indicate that some personal issue was the motive behind the murder," District Police Officer Dera Ismail Khan, Dr Zahidullah Khan told The News. He added that the police were hopeful that the culprits would be nabbed soon.

The news of the murder of Aftab Mahsud, 19, went viral on the social media as many suspected it had some connection with the killing of Naqeebullah Mahsud by senior officer Rao Anwar, and his men. Rao Anwar is still at large despite the efforts of the Karachi Police and the intervention of the Supreme Court, which took suo moto notice of the incident.

The tribal youth, later joined by many Pakhtun youth and political leaders from all over the country, staged a sit-in for 10 days until February 10 in Islamabad to demand the arrest of Rao Anwar, recovery of the missing Pakhtuns in Karachi and Waziristan, payment of compensation to those killed in fake police encounters and stopping the harassment of tribal people at the security checkpoints in Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The campaign then spread to Swat district and Bajaur Agency where protests were staged against the maltreatment at the roadside security checkpoints. Similar demands are now appearing on the social media from elsewhere in KP and Fata.

As Aftab Mahsud was seen in the social media in pictures with Naqeebullah Mahsud and he also remained actively engaged in the Islamabad sit-in, many feared his murder on Saturday has some link with his activities. Police, however, said that the investigation so far didn't support the theory.

"The motive behind the killing of Aftab Mahsud seems to be personal issues. Police have discussed those with the elders of the family," Inspector General of Police (IGP) Salahuddin Khan Mahsud said on Sunday.

He said the accused would be traced and apprehended soon. "Conspiracy theories about the incident are not correct. Police will show the killers to the media once they are arrested," said the IGP, who is from the same Mahsud tribe to which both Naqeebullah and Aftab Mahsud belonged.

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