Judicial Enquiry of Journalist Hayatullah's Murder Case
Staff Report: Daily Times, June 15, 2007
PESHAWAR: “Not enough concrete evidence was found to substantiate the involvement of security agencies, the army or political administration in Hayatullah’s murder to affix responsibility, but there is evidence that makes these institutions suspicious,” says the judicial inquiry report into the murder of tribal journalist Hayatullah Khan.
The report recommended that the federal government conduct further probes into the case on the basis of the commission’s findings, federal government officials said on Friday.
The government ordered a Peshawar High Court judge to conduct a judicial inquiry into the case. Hayatullah was kidnapped in December 2005 and found dead on June 16 last year in North Waziristan.
Justice Muhammad Raza Khan submitted a 30-page report to the government in August 2006 along with 50 pages of supporting documentation, said officials. His recommendation for further probes was necessitated by the fact that his jurisdiction did not extend to the scene of the crime in the tribal areas.
Islamabad committed to making the judicial findings public but the report never saw the light of day. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) describes Islamabad’s silence as “unacceptable”.
“We demand to know the truth about Hayatullah’s abduction and murder and we support his relatives and colleagues who continue to call for the facts of the case to be revealed and for justice to be dispensed,” an RSF statement said.
The inquiry report said the government’s alleged involvement was the suspected reason for their discontinuing all contact with Hayatullah’s family and the probable explanation for why no government official attended his funeral, according to officials.
Hayatullah’s younger brother, Ehsanullah Khan told Daily Times, “The government murdered my brother,” and asked, “What is the use of holding an inquiry if its findings are not made public?”
Hayatullah was kidnapped after he contradicted the government’s claim that Al Qaeda suspect Abu Hamza had been killed by an explosion and not a US missile attack.
The judicial inquiry findings said, “Some army officers contacted Hayatullah’s brother to congratulate him, saying Hayatullah would return home soon. We [the commission] could not get hold of the telephone numbers because calls from the army telephone exchange cannot be detected on CLI. There has been lukewarm support for the inquiry from the army.”
Justice Khan demanded that the government recognise Hayatullah’s humanitarian services, particularly his constructing a school in the area, and also urged the government to hold a memorial to recognise his services to journalism in such a hostile environment.