AfPak region: In a statement released on Wednesday, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) denied that it killed the missing Pakistani police officer Tahir Dawar.
Pakistani police officer Tahir Dawar, who was based in Peshawar, had gone missing from Islamabad on October 27. His mutilated body was found in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan near the Pak-Afghan border. Alleged pictures of his disfigured body circulating on the social media show that he was ruthlessly tortured before being killed by the unidentified men, with severe torture marks found on his face and body. The killers then dumped his body near Momand Dara area of Nangarhar.
Officials say the military authorities were in contact with their Afghan counterparts to facilitate the transportation of the body, but it was not likely to reach here on Tuesday. “We may get the body tomorrow,” a senior official said.
In a written statement on a blank piece of paper found alongside the body, the Islamic State Khorasan (ISKP) group claimed responsibility for the killing. However, there has been no official claim from Amaq Agency. Some reports also initially claimed that he was killed by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
In a statement released on Wednesday, TTP denied that it killed police officer Tahir Dawar, saying that it proudly claims its actions but is not responsible for the missing cop’s death. The statement further boasted about TTP’s 2009 attack in the headquarters of Pakistani military and threatened Pakistani journalists for what it says is fake news being attributed to it. The TTP statement also warns its supporters not to believe anything other than what is being said by its official media channel the Umar Media.
ITCT Newsdesk talked to ITCT Deputy Director Faran Jeffery, who is also head of South Asia desk at ITCT, about the brutal killing of police officer Tahir Dawar. Jeffery had this to say:
The case of missing police cop Tahir Dawar is pretty complicated. He was kidnapped from Islamabad, the most secure city in Pakistan, and somehow his dead body ended up in Afghanistan. Now, first of all, things like this have happened before. For example, Ali Gillani, son of former Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gillani, was kidnapped from Multan and was taken to Afghanistan. Or take the kidnapping of the son of Salman Taseer, slain governor of Punjab, Shahbaz Taseer, who was kidnapped from Lahore and then taken to Afghanistan. But in those days things within Pakistan as well as at the border used to be very different. Lawlessness was more common and Pakistani military was heavily engaged on multiple fronts against terrorists. But things have significantly changed since then. Firstly, Pakistani intelligence today is way better on Afghanistan-based terrorism than it was in 2013 or before. Secondly, the Pakistan-Afghanistan border management has significantly improved since then. And Pakistan is also working on the border fence, which will make it harder to infiltrate the border. But am I saying that it is impossible for terrorists to smuggle him into Afghanistan? No, absolutely not. Because there are still loopholes and it is still very much possible – but more difficult than before – for terrorists to smuggle a hostage from Pakistan to Afghanistan. The problem is that the letter claiming responsibility on behalf of ISKP found on his dead body looks like a fake. It is written hastily on a blank piece of paper and there has been no claim from Amaq Agency. ISKP always uses its official letterhead for such letters. Even smaller and significantly less richer groups like TTP and Lashkar-e-Islam use their official letterheads for such claims and statements, because anyone can write anything on a blank piece of paper. That doesn’t make it authentic. And now TTP has denied that it has anything to do with the cop’s kidnapping and eventual killing. So that makes this case even more complicated, at least until we get more answers. Because if TTP says it didn’t do it, and if that ISKP letter is fake and there’s no official claim from Amaq, then we will have to ask: who did it? Hopefully we will find that out soon.