Pakistani tribesmen ignore leaders' calls to end sit-in, demand arrest over killing of Naqeeb

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Tribal elders and youth at a protest camp in front of the National Press Club in Islamabad. (AN photos)
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Tribal elders and youth at a protest camp in front of the National Press Club in Islamabad. (AN photo)
Updated 07 February 2018
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Pakistani tribesmen ignore leaders' calls to end sit-in, demand arrest over killing of Naqeeb

ISLAMABAD: A group of tribesmen from Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas has rejected a call by tribal elders to end a sit-in protest in the capital.

The protesters are seeking justice for Naqeeb Mehsud, a 27-year-old aspiring male model who was killed on Jan. 13 in what they claim was a falsely staged police encounter.

Most of the tribal elders left the sit-in early on Wednesday morning, but several protesters refused to pack up following verbal assurances by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to meet their demands.

Badshahi Khan, one of the protest’s organizers, told Arab News that the tribal elders did not discuss their meeting with the prime minister with fellow protesters and took a unilateral decision to end the sit-in.

A 15-member delegation of the Mehsud tribe, from the Waziristan tribal region, called on the prime minister on Tuesday night and presented their demands.

“We are here and will continue to protest until all our demands are met,” Manzoor Pashteen, a member of the delegation, said. “We cannot believe the verbal assurances of the prime minister.”

Pashteen said that he had asked the tribal elders to speak with protesters before making any decision on the sit-in, but they did not listen to him.

“I am with my tribal youth and am staying here with all those protesting for justice for Naqeeb Mehsud,” he said. “The politicians have called off the sit-in. The ordinary people are staying here.”

Pashteen said that the prime minister had refused to confirm in writing that the delegation’s demands would be met.

The protesters’ demands include the arrest of the fugitive suspended official Malir Rao Anwar, leader of the team responsible for the operation in which Mehsud and three other men were killed.

“The prime minister has promised the tribesmen that all available resources will be used to locate and arrest Rao Anwar,” the Minister for Capital Administration and Development, Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, said. “The government’s job is to (serve) the people, and we are trying our best to do it.”

Tribal elders called off the sit-in after they met the prime minister and received a verbal assurance that their demands would be met, according to Mohammed Jamal-ud-Din, one of the members of the delegation. However, he warned that was not necessarily the end of the matter.

He said the tribesmen had no wish to disrupt public life in the capital, but “if our demands are not met in due time, we reserve the right to protest in front of the Parliament House.”

Jamal-ud-Din said the protesters would continue to raise the issue in forums including the National Assembly and Senate.

An investigation team headed by Additional Insp. Gen. of the Counter-Terrorism Department Sanaullah Abbasi declared Mehsud innocent in its report, saying he was the victim of an “extrajudicial killing.”


UK court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh 'Beatle' held in Syria

Updated 18 January 2019
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UK court rejects case brought by mother of Daesh 'Beatle' held in Syria

  • El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey are being held by Kurdish militia after being captured in Syria last year
  • United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in the way

LONDON: The mother of one of the British Daesh militants suspected of murdering western hostages, lost a legal challenge on Friday that it was wrong for Britain to assist a US investigation which could lead to them facing the death penalty.
Britons El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey — two of a notorious group of British fighters nicknamed “The Beatles” — are being held by Kurdish militia after being captured in Syria last year.
The United States wants to extradite them and Britain has said it will not stand in the way of any future US prosecution that would seek the death penalty, waiving a long-standing objection to executions.
Elsheikh’s mother, Maha El Gizouli, had sought a judicial review, saying it was unlawful for Britain’s interior minister to provide mutual legal assistance in a case which could lead to prosecutions for offenses which carried the death penalty.
Her lawyers said the minister’s actions were flawed, inconsistent with Britain’s unequivocal opposition to the death penalty and violated her son’s human rights. However, London’s High Court disagreed and dismissed her claim.
“My priority has always been to ensure we deliver justice for the victims’ families and that the individuals suspected of these sickening crimes face prosecution as quickly as possible,” Home Secretary Sajid Javid said.
“Our long-standing opposition to the death penalty has not changed. Any evidence shared with the US in this case must be for the express purpose of progressing a federal prosecution.”
The most notorious of the four of the so-called Beatles was Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John,” who is believed to have been killed in a US-British missile strike in 2015.
He became a public face of Daesh and appeared in videos showing the murders of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and other hostages.
“This group of terrorists is associated with some of the most barbaric crimes committed during the conflict in Syria,” Graeme Biggar, Director of National Security at Britain’s interior ministry, said in a written statement to the court.
Britain has said it does not want the men repatriated to the United Kingdom and their British citizenship has been withdrawn.
British prosecutors concluded they did not have the evidence to launch their own case against the men but US officials then expressed frustration with the British stance of seeking an assurance that US prosecutors would not call for the death penalty, court documents showed.
However, last June, British ministers and senior officials decided the best way of ensuring a prosecution and to protect US relations was to seek no such assurance in this case.
That decision provoked criticism from opposition lawmakers and from some in the government’s own party who accused ministers of secretly abandoning Britain’s opposition to the death penalty.