Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pakistan: Murder of Briton, 55, in Rawalpindi to Testify Against Kidnappers, A Lesson For All of Us

According to the BBC, British national Malik Iqbal, 55, an ethnic Pakistani, who returned to Rawalpindi last month [August] after being kidnapped and released in September 2011, following payment of a 15,000 pound ransom payment (US$24,307), was shot and killed by three gunmen on Friday (September 28).

COMMENT: Having worked in Pakistan on numerous times in the past, I would have advised Mr. Iqbal NOT to return to Rawalpindi to testify against the men who had kidnapped him. He got away with his life ONCE. Attempting to do so a second time was very likely tempting fate.

Life in Pakistan, regrettably, is unsafe for all foreigners, regardless of their nationality. Thus, I'm puzzled by the British and US governments failure to discourage travel to Pakistan unless those that do travel can be effectively protected from kidnapping and murder. 

Only in recent days, since the turmoil in the Middle East, has the State Department warned against non-essential travel to Pakistan, whereas the British government is less restrictive. 

Sadly, having returned to his home in Bradford [UK] after his ransom was paid, Malik should NOT have returned to Pakistan, given the country’s obvious inability to keep him safe while waiting to testify against his kidnappers.

Iqbal was shot multiple times by three assailants who appeared at a house he was staying at in Rawalpindi. From all indications, he was not being protected by anyone at the time of his murder. Unfortunately, integrity is elusive in the Pakistani police system, which essential means that NO one can be trusted.

At the time of his kidnapping, Malik was chained to a bed on a farm for roughly twenty days until a ransom was paid. 

Ironically, after being released last year, Mr. Iqbal told the BBC that he warned against anyone traveling to Pakistan. Tragically, he should have adhered to his own good advice, knowing that the Pakistani government could not ensure his safety.