July 22nd, 2021
By Hamid Riaz, Ahmed Saeed & Hassan Raza
Even when Senator Usman Kakar, the Pakhtun Khwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) stalwart and a well known advocate of democracy, was lying unconscious in bed, public had gathered outside the hospital, lamenting his ill-health, and praying for his recovery.
When he was shifted to Karachi their hopes began to fray and they felt as if their leader would not return safely. They were right.
Senator Usman Kakar died on Monday, June 21, while under treatment at the Agha Khan Hospital, Karachi. the masses mourn his death and await his funeral on Wednesday, June 23.
But to many, including his own family, the need to have an impartial investigation into his death, is needed, especially as
several rumors are now surfacing. The close family, party workers, and even several medical health experts feel that the Senator did not die of natural causes, and have instead claimed that he was murdered after a well thought out and well-executed conspiracy to silence democratic voices.
An assistant-professor of neurosurgery from Quetta, who was also an observer at Senator Usman Kakar’s autopsy, carried out at the Jinnah postgraduate medical college (JPMC), Karachi, claims that the head injury which resulted in the senator’s death could not have been caused by a normal fall.
“In my professional opinion, the assessment that Senator Usman Kakar fell causing a hematoma which led to his death is not very plausible,” explains the doctor. “I was not present during his operation, but I have been able to find out that the doctors performed a surgery because of his critical condition, but he could not be saved because the wound (as you might call it) was very deep inside his brain. I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that a fall could cause such an injury.”
An initial post-mortem report published by Karachi’s JPMC (Jinnah Postgraduate and Medical Centre) states that no signs of violence were found anywhere on the senator’s body though the report falls short of declaring the exact cause of death. Instead, the report clarifies that the cause of death will be ascertained after a review of the “Histopathology” report, which could take over a week.
The rumors about senator Usman Kakar’s mysterious death were triggered when his son Khushal Kakar appeared in front of the media and stated that his father and members of his family had been receiving death threats because of their pro-democracy political stance and pointed towards a pre-planned attack leading to the murder of his father.
“For me, there is no doubt about the fact that my father was murdered,” says Khushal. “I reject the possibility that this was an accident. The leadership of our party is busy collecting information regarding the circumstances of his death and we will make our information public as soon as we have concrete evidence of our claims.”.
At first, senator Usman Kakar was taken to a private hospital in Quetta where he received treatment for two days, but then was later moved to Karachi where the Sindh government promised to get him treated free of cost at the Agha Khan Medical hospital – a private hospital – however the Senator succumbed to his injuries.
A Thorough Investigation
According to Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) central leader Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, the party is conducting a thorough investigation into the death of Senator Usman Kakar. He clearly stated that the party had grave doubts about the circumstances surrounding Usman Kakar’s death but that he will not “confirm” reports that he was murdered.
“Our doubts are based on the opinions given by several medical health experts but I do not want to say something which will add to the confusion surrounding the incident. So, in my opinion, we should wait for the official announcement which will be made by our party leader Mehmood Khan Achakzai at the funeral procession tomorrow,” states Rahim Ziaratwal.
Even several key politicians from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have called for an investigation into the death of Usman Kakar in light of the grave allegations made by his son.
“I just got into contact with Usman lala’s brother and his son and they have very confidently asserted that man Kakar was murdered and did not die of natural causes. I want to say that these are very severe allegations and should not be taken lightly,” said MNA Mohsin Dawar. “Usman Kakar was a very important leader not only of the Pashtun community but also of the entire country (regardless of ethnicity) this is why I demand that a thorough investigation be carried out into his death.”
Former Deputy Chairman Senate and a senior member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Saleem Mandiwala has demanded that the Balochistan and the Sindh governments have a responsibility to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the death of Usman Kakar and that it is pertinent to call his family to the parliament to testify on the matter.
Kamran Murtaza, Senator and senior lawyer from the Jamiat Ulema Islam (F) stated on the floor of the house that the death of Usman Kakar should not be ignored. “If such serious suspicions are being raised about the death of a senator then it becomes the inherent responsibility of the senate to form an investigative committee regarding the issue,” demanded Kamran.
Independent Senator Kahda Babar stated during his speech that the members of the senate have a moral responsibility to address the concerns of their colleague’s family members. He called for the formation of a special committee to carry out an investigation into the matter and to review the senator’s medical report as well.
In this regard, PTI senator and chairman of the Standing Committee on Human Rights Waleed Iqbal said that if the chairman of the Senate deems it appropriate, his committee can help in the investigation into the death of Usman Kakar.
At the time of the filing of this report, Usman Kakar’s dead body is on its way to Quetta from Karachi by road. His son is addressing rallies at different locations. In his most recent address made in front of his supporters in Khuzdar, Khushaal Khattak has asserted that he stands by assertions and that “post-mortem reports mean nothing because Baloch and Pashtuns have been killed in the past as well and their murders had been justified by botched up medical reports.”
The PkMAP has called for a province-wide strike in Balochistan for tomorrow, July 23. According to our correspondent, the markets in Quetta are open for the time being but some areas have already begun to shut down in anticipation of the strike tomorrow. In other areas of Balochistan people have spontaneously shut down business activities in solidarity with the family of the senator.