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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Murder of Wali Khan Babar: Mystery Resolved; Investigations Reveal the Identity of Murderers & Also Point to Internal Dynamics Within GEO News

Sources tell IH, Wali Khan Babar had some critical information on criminal links between political parties and the criminal elements and he was about to reveal some criminal links between MQM activists and the criminal elements.
GEO News reporter Wali Khan Babar gunned down on January 13, 2011
By IH Staff Reporter

He was killed in broad daylight. The administration, the police, the home department and the Interior Ministry assured speedy justice, finding some clue and nabbing the culprits behind the murder shortly, but nothing is done so far despite the eye opening revelations by the investigators. The government is aware of the identity of the culprits, but who will arrest them and how will it be possible is a million dollar question for the people in Sindh and elsewhere.

I am talking about the reporter at GEO News, a Karachi based Satellite TV Network, Wali Khan Babar, who was murdered in Karachi early this year. The young reporter belonged to Pakhtoon community. Very few people may be aware of the fact that he was working with a religious TV channel as a news anchor before joining the English language channel of the same network and was well aware of some of the top crime dens in the city of Karachi being supported by political figures or groups.

Wali Khan Babar was killed while on his way home from office. He was shot dead in front of Liaqatabad (famous as Laloo Khait) police station. The car carrying the gunmen who opened fire on him was traced as someone from police on duty noted its number and then was traced with the help of engine, chassis and registration numbers.

Initially it looked like a routine crime and an attempt to undermine media men chasing news and newsworthy people day and night, but suddenly it turned into a mystery when the policeman who noted the car number, a brother of the investigation officer and certain other people linked with the case were murdered.

The series of murders and follow up incidents and the campaign launched by the channel prompted the agencies and the interior ministry to conduct an independent inquiry, thus a high powered investigating team was set up that moved swiftly to complete the task.

Sources in the interior ministry have shown some parts of the report to this scribe, which are eye openers and a clear indication that the murder is not as simple as was initially considered and had some internal dynamics as well.

The report is based on certain statements recorded by the people arrested in connection of the murder and follow up incidents. One of the reported killers is said to be among the people who are in the safe custody of the Police and are being kept at a secret place in Karachi.

The details provided in the report suggest that the murder is or said to be linked with the MQM - ANP row in Karachi, besides the internal rivalries at the channel. It is observed in the report that both external and internal factors also show the interests of the rival MQM groups engaged in a battle for the control over the city of Karachi as well as in the TV channels.

The details mentioned in the report indicate that Babar Wali was not on good terms with some of the colleagues in the channel who wanted to safeguard the interests of MQM in the organization. He was a crime reporter and was working on criminal links between political parties and the criminal elements. He was reported to have some critical information. With increase of tension between the ANP and MQM, Babar was under huge pressure as he was connected with anti group of local pro-MQM journalists and also had a family link with ANP.

The feud erupted among the rival groups reportedly belonging to MQM and ANP and it prompted the rival group to keep him away from crime reporting as according to the sources, he was about to reveal some criminal links between few MQM activists and the criminal elements, sources confided. Meanwhile Shahid Motu (a code name) approached an MQM sector office with the complaints that “Pani Ser se guzar gia hai, ab isay khamosh krna goga” (water is over the head and ‘he’ would have to be ‘silenced’ now), sources added. He also informed the MQM sector office that Babar is the main source of ANP in Karachi journalism and he is about to reveal some sensitive information.

The complaint of Shahid Motu (actual name is not mentioned) was then sent to London Secretariat and on the arrival of a go-ahead signal, the next move was planned. The car belonged to a colleague who was actually not aware of the plan, the report suggests according to the sources. The execution was perfect; the victim was chased from I. I. Chundrigar road and was shot in front of Liaqatabad police station as the whole Police Station was considered to be apna (own).
Former Sindh Interior Minister Zulfiqar Mirza

The investigators are scared of a backlash from the Karachi based organization trying to enter in Punjab; however they suggested a prompt action. Sindh Interior Minister, Zulfiqar Mirza was reportedly about to order action against the murderers, but information was leaked thus pressure was exerted on the weak central government for his removal and for the sake of his own survival the Minister was asked to resign and go on leave.

Meanwhile, sources in the interior ministry have confided that Rehman Malik and some other top government officials have informed MQM chief Altaf Hussain about the findings and he is asked by the government to handover the real executors.

It is quite an interesting fact that the channel was running a campaign on the murder of Wali Babar, but immediately after the completion of the report, the campaign is intriguingly stopped and no single promo was aired in favor of justice to the family of Wali Babar.

The development has a clear link with the report as some parts were also leaked to the Channel administration, indicating that some people at the channel may be arrested which will defame the organization, thus a criminal silence is being maintained, sources observed.

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