The horrific and gruesome incident in Barkhan have jolted the entire country and has caused a huge uproar among people
Quetta: The horrific and gruesome incident that recently took place in Barkhan, where the tortured bodies of an unknown lady and two brothers were found, have jolted the entire country and has caused a huge uproar among people and in the media across the country against the brutal tribal system of Balochistan.
The ill-fated family was in the private jail of Sardar Abdur Rahman, a chieftain of the Khaithran Baloch tribe for the last four years despite being in the knowledge of government, police and local administration.
The head of the family, Khan Mohammad Marri has been appealing through social media to the government, judiciary and military high ups for the release of his family members but in vain.
Khan Mohammad was the personal servant of Sardar Abdur Rahman for a decade and served four year term in jail along with the latter and others in the case pertaining to the private jail in Barkhan in 2014.
Later, Khan alleged that he was being forced by his master to lodge an FIR for theft against his rebellious son Inam Shah Khaithran, otherwise he wouldn’t let his family members go with.
Upon refusal, his wife, a young daughter and six sons were put in his private jail and were subjected to physical labour, he claimed. Being the dweller of neighbouring district of Kohlu, Khan Mohammad shifted to Barkhan where he found a job with Sardar Khaithran as his personal body guard.
Khan Mohammad’s many videos have gone viral on social media appealing for the release of his family members but no action was taken during the last six months by any court of law or the police and civil administration.
Later, a video showing a middle-aged lady named Granaz, the wife of Khan Mohammad, holding the Holy Quran in her hand and asking everyone to get her family released was released. However, none of the authorities or officials came forward to investigate the matter against an influential minister who draws his power from the state institutions.
This week, things got really ugly when the tortured bodies of two male members of the family along with an unknown female were found. The Police, after receiving the information, but registered the case against unknown culprits but refrained from interrogating or arresting the nominated persons including minister Khaithran.
The news of torture and brutal killings killing spread like wildfire across the country and the leading TV channels, which usually ignore any issue relating to Balochistan, started highlighting it as breaking news.
The lady’s face was beyond recognition as it was burnt with acid. Khan Mohmmad and his wife Granaz accepted that the bodies of two males are of their sons. According to police surgeon Dr. Aysha Faiz that all the bodies carried deep wounds that show they were severely tortured. All the family members of Khan Mohammad categorically told the reporters that they were in the custody of Sardar Abdur Rahman for the last four years.
On different talk shows, Minister Abdur Rahman denied the accusation and termed it as a conspiracy hatched by his real son Inam Shah to tarnish his image.
However, his son Inam uploaded the photos of his daughter and sons on social media showing them working in his father’s house. Hundreds of Marri tribesmen, after receiving the dead bodies, staged a sit in by placing the bodies at the chowk leading to the Red Zone.
They demanded the safe recovery of rest of the family members, immediate arrest of the provincial minister and his sacking from the provincial cabinet besides a fair trial of the case.
The government, facing tremendous pressure from the public, the media and the protesters, ordered the house arrest of Abdur Rahman. Being a minister, he was kept in the DIG office which was declared as a sub-jail.
The Minister, in an audacious demand, asked the Chief Minister that he should not be put in jail or lock up and would not be hand cuffed and there would be no ban on visitors. All his conditions were, unfortunately, accepted. The police later obtained his 10-day remand from the local court for investigation purposes.
Like other tribal chieftains of Balochistan, Sardar Abdur Rahman also has his private confinement compound which was unearthed when the police raided his residence and nearby houses in 2014. Then, Khaithran along with his 20 body guards, was arrested while some eight persons including a woman were recovered from his private jail.
Being a member provincial assembly, his Quetta house was subsequently declared a sub-jail where he was confined for four and a half years.
Khaithran was an accounts officer in municipal corporation Quetta in mid 1980s. His father Mir Ahmad Shah, a provincial minister was the caretaker of his nephew Akbar Jan who was the legal heir of Sardari. Abdur Rahman’s paternal uncle Sardar Anwar Jan was the head of the tribe and died a natural death, but his son Akbar Jan was under age at the time and could not to be declared the chieftain of the tribe.
Later, Akbar was also killed in a tribal feud and Abdur Rahman became the legal heir of Sardari of the tribe. He has since been an influential political figure and have often switched loyalties.
It must also be mentioned here that back in 2000, Rahman had also served punishment in jail in a few NAB cases and subsequently faced a ten-year ban from holding any public office.
In a cunning move, he then fielded his wife Nasreen Khaithran and got her elected in two terms (2002-2008-2013). His wife was made a minister, but he used to attend her office and make all decisions including the directions to departmental secretary. Her wife was minister for the sake of name or signature on files.
Khaithrans or their Sardars are otherwise very polite and soft people. They avoid fighting within their tribe or with other tribes despite living in the neighbourhood of Marris and Bugtis who are locked in many tribal feuds for decades.
However unlike his forefathers, Abdur Rahman is a hot-headed person and is a hardliner who believes the Sardars should be strict in order to control their tribe better.
During his imprisonment, National Party of Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch started encouraging its workers led by Wadera Karim who bagged more votes in 2018 elections than Sardar of the tribe, but after counting the ‘postal ballots’, the latter was declared elected. National Party challenged this in the election tribunal and later in the apex courts but it is still pending like other cases.
All the police and administrative officials of Barkhan district are pawns of Sardar Abdur Rahman who gets them posted in his area to protect his interest, by hook and by crook. It is being felt by the critics that unless all the police and administrative officials of Barkhan are placed under suspension and they are taken into custody for investigation, the mystery of triple murders would not be solved.
The government and its agencies should award exemplary punishments to the culprits in this case so that nobody dares to establish private jails which tantamounts to extreme violation of the law and running of a parallel kingdom in the country.
The responsibility in this heinous crime also rests on the shoulders of IGP Abdul Khaliq Shiekh and Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili for neither taking notice of the videos of Khan Mohammad and his wife nor taking any action against the police and administrative officials for their criminal negligence.