PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday removed the deputy commissioner, Malakand, and assistant commissioner, Dargai, after a large number of people took to the streets in the district to protest the murder of a young rights activist.
“Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has taken strict notice against the murder of Muhammad Zada in Sakhakot. The DC and AC Malakand have been suspended and made OSD. An inquiry has also been ordered into the incident,” said Minister for Information and Higher Education Kamran Bangash.
The deceased young man had raised the issues of drug business, car-lifting and other crimes, which were allegedly being carried out with the tacit patronage of local officials and influential families.
Thousands of people took to the streets to protest the murder of Mohammad Zada as well as another activist Umar Hayat. The two activists were killed in separate incidents. The mother of the deceased Mohammad Zada and others demanded action against the administration as well as members of the mafia for the murder of the young activist.
They were angry that the government had failed to protect Mohammad Zada though he had expressed concerns following his bold stance against the mafias involved in drug business, car-lifting and other crimes. Some speeches of the deceased went viral on social media.
A number of political leaders also took up the issue of the murder of young activist and demanded the government to take action against the killers as well as the drug mafias in the area.
The predecessor of Deputy Commissioner Altaf Sheikh was also removed a few weeks back after robbers looted a number of tourists in the district.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Officers Association in a letter to the chief minister demanded that the Establishment Department may be directed to withdraw the transfer orders of DC Malakand and AC Dargai and constitute an inquiry.
“If the incumbent officers are found guilty after the due process then they should be dealt as per prescribed rules accordingly. Besides, safety of tenure may be ensured for civil servants, Civil Administration Act may be operationalized and the district administration may be empowered so as to ensure a stable public order and service delivery,” the letter said, adding, Malakand is a special case where policing is under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner hence responsible for Law and Order as well.
“The whole nation mourns the murder of a social activist and seek justice. In order to achieve that, we need an improved criminal justice system, ban on supplies of drugs, and target the dens along with mobilizing the society accordingly. Loss of precious lives in drug related crimes need to be tackled with an iron hand,” stated the letter sent by Fahad Ikram Qazi, coordinator of All Pakistan PMS Officers Association to KP chief minister.
Tahir Khan Azikhel adds from Batkhela: The relatives accompanied by thousands of local residents and social activists took to the streets to protest the murder of a rights activist in Sakhakot area in Dargai tehsil in Malakand district on Tuesday.
Mohammad Zada, a young man who had been raising voice against drug peddling, car-lifting and other crimes, was targeted by unidentified persons near his house in Sakhakot. The riled protesters placed the body on Sakhakot-Peshawar road and blocked it for all kinds of vehicular traffic.
Long queues of vehicles were seen on both sides of the road due to the blockade, causing great hardships to the motorists.
The body remained placed on the road for almost six hours but later the route reopened for traffic following successful talks between the protesters’ leaders and the negotiating committee.
The protesters’ leaders said that a major operation should be launched against drug peddling, car-lifting and other crimes under army supervision.
The speakers alleged that local officials and influential families in the area were backing drug pushers, auto-thieves and other criminals.
They demanded the government to arrest the killers of Mohammad Zada forthwith, declare him a national hero and announce a national award for the slain rights activist. They also demanded that the deceased’s burial should be performed with state honours.
The family had not yet registered a case against the accused but the Levies officials have launched investigation into the murder case.
Meanwhile, the Awami National Party (ANP) has condemned the murder of Mohammad Zada and Umar Hayat and demanded judicial inquiry into the cases.
In a statement issued from Bacha Khan Markaz, the headquarters of nationalist party in Peshawar, ANP provincial president Aimal Wali Khan condemned the killing of two rights activists in Dargai in Malakand.
He said that the government had failed to take action against mafias and ensure protection to the law-abiding people.
Aimal Wali said that cases of target killing, extortion, kidnapping for ransom and other crimes but the rulers had become silent spectators.
He said that ANP was with victim families and raised their voices at every forum for their rights.
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