February 22, 2023
By Xari Jalil & Asim Ahmed Khan
Police in Balochistan’s capital city has arrested the provincial minister of Communication and Works, Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran in connection with the murder of the three people, whose bodies were discovered in a well in Barkhan, near Kolhu on Tuesday.
The minister has been shifted to the DIG Office. Police added that Khetran will be shifted to the Cantt police station after further orders.
The arrest came late Wednesday night after a second day of the sit-in by demonstrators continued with the dead bodies of the three victims, a woman with her face mutilated, and two young men, between the ages of 15 and 20 were found murdered in a well.
On February 9, 45-year-old Granaz Marri appeared in a video where she claimed she and her children had been abducted by the minister and were being kept in his private prison. Her husband also alleged that the minister had been forcing them to work and that she and her daughter were being sexually abused as well.
Earlier, the body was thought to be that of Granaz, but late Wednesday night, Police Surgeon Dr Ayesha Faiz said that post-mortem had revealed the female victim was possibly between 17 and 18 years old. It was also revealed that the victim had been sexually abused, received three bullets in her head, and to hide her identity, had acid thrown on her face and neck. While the identity of the victim remains unknown for sure, it is possible that it may be the daughter of Granaz and Khan Muhammad Marri.
While Khetran has vehemently denied running any private jail and has denied that he will step down even though an investigation was running, in 2014, he was arrested in connection with a similar case, when seven people – including two women and three children – were rescued from his private jail. At the time, Khetran was an MPA of the Balochistan Assembly and a part of Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Islam (JUI).
At present, Khetran is a leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). He has been the Provincial Minister of Balochistan since 9 September 2018. He has been a member of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan since August 2018.
In the past, he has remained, the provincial minister for education.
Then in 2020, journalist Anwar Jan Khetran was murdered allegedly by two of the minister’s bodyguards, according to the journalist’s brother. His brother had told Voicepk.net that Anwar had been writing against the minister and had even been threatened by him and pressured to step down from his role as a journalist.
INVESTIGATION WILL CONTINUE
Spokesperson Balochistan Police Aslam Nasar confirmed the arrest of the minister on Wednesday.
“Sardar Abdul Rahman Khetran has been detained on suspicion of killing three people in Barkhan,” he said. “A Special Investigation Team has started an investigation with the provincial minister. Raids are being conducted to recover the hostages.” According to Spokesperson, more arrests are expected.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Inspector General of Police (IGP) Abdul Khaliq Sheikh on Tuesday took notice of the grisly discovery of three bullet-riddled bodies from a well in the Barkhan district area and vowed no leniency for those involved in the incident.
According to the official police statement, the bodies, which were in sacks, were found on February 20 at around 8 pm. The station house officer (SHO) of Barkhan Police Station was informed about the corpses in the well.
A separate press release from the police said that on November 16, a police party comprising Barkhan superintendent of police (SP), a sub-divisional police officer, a deputy superintendent of police, SHO, and an Anti-Terrorist Force team raided the Haji Kot house of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) spokesperson and Provincial Minister for Construction and Communications Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran but no one was found there.
It added that on January 18, Khan Mohammad Marri had submitted a request to the relevant authorities alleging that his wife and children were kept in captivity in Khetran’s private jail and were being tortured. He had appealed for their immediate recovery.
The press release said the Barkhan SP was given directions for the immediate recovery of Khan Muhammad’s family, adding that he had tried obtaining information about the abductees but to no avail.
The press release elaborated that the bodies of his family were found in sacks in a well in Somiani on Monday. It added that strict action will be taken against the culprits once the victims’ heirs file a case and the perpetrators would be brought to justice.