November 9th, 2021
By Ahmed Saeed
A young social activist Muhammad Zada Agarwal from the Sakhakot area of Malakand was shot dead by unknown assailants on Monday, November 8.
The family of the slain activist said that 30-year old Agarwal was killed for his activism against the drug mafia operating in the area.
Agarwal used to write against drug lords on his Facebook account and also worked as a freelance reporter for local newspapers.
“My brother has been getting threats from the Deputy Commissioner (DC) for raising his voice against the drug mafia. He also posted a Facebook status on October 12 in which he clearly mentioned that if something wrong happened to him, DC should be held responsible”, Abdul Jalal, Agarwal’s brother told Voicepk.
He also said that on November 3, Agarwal during an open court hearing of DC Altaf Sheikh openly blamed him for supporting the drug lords of the area.
If something happens to me, DC will be responsible: Agarwal
On October 12, Agarwal’s Facebook status read that “Deputy Commissioner Malakand Altaf Sheikh is trying to harass me on the behest of my opponents and their political circles.”
He also warned that “If anything happens to me as a result of this planned and nefarious conspiracy, then Deputy Commissioner Malakand Altaf Sheikh will be responsible.”
The police have registered an FIR on the complainant of Agarwal’s brother Abdul Jalal against two unknown persons under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
However, the family staged a sit-in after Agarwal’s funeral prayer and demanded to include the name of DC Altaf Sheikh in the FIR and his removal from the post. They also called for adding Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorist Act ATA in the FIR.
Judicial commission to probe the matter
After hours spent on negotiations with the bereaved family, the representatives of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, agreed to remove the DC and Assistant commissioner from their posts.
However, the government representatives did not concede on including the DC’s name in the FIR but they agreed to form a judicial committee being headed by a high court judge to impartially probe the matter.
The government also assured the family that all resources will be used to apprehend the attackers within three days.
The establishment department of the KP government has issued the notification of transfer of both DC and AC “in the best public interest.” Both the officers are instructed to report to the establishment department for further posting.
Before the burial, Agarwal’s mother addressed a crowd of hundreds who had gathered for the funeral rites of the slain activist.
She said that her son had given his life to save the next generation from the curse of drugs. She also took a pledge from all those present that they would take her son’s mission forward at every cost and make Malakand a drug-free district.