ISLAMABAD, Oct 24: Malala Yousufzai may be recovering steadily in Great Britain but some of her compatriots are not averse to using her tragedy to gain some personal benefit and glory.
This appears to be the real story behind the school girl in Islamabad who was being threatened by the Swat militants.
Reayatullah Khan, the city resident who made international news by claiming that the Taliban were after his daughter like Malala, has been discovered as a habitual liar and a fraud.
Police sources told Dawn on Thursday that the man had four cases of fraud registered against him in two police stations and had been on bail in two. They dismissed his story as an attempt to ride out his troubles on a wave of worldwide sympathy for Malala Yousufzai.
A native of Swat, Reayatullah had moved to Islamabad before the military operation was conducted there in 2009 to clear the area of militants. The history of his alleged crimes in his new home goes back to the same year, the sources said.
But the police pieced it together only after Interior Minister Rehman Malik received an application from Reayatullah on October 13 that militants had been threatening his family, and ordered the Islamabad police chief to investigate.
Subsequent investigations found that four FIRs were pending against him in Shalimar and Ramna police stations, filed by his alleged victims over the last three years.
According to the police sources, the victims have charged him of defrauding them by paying back the money he owed them in bogus cheques. Reayatullah could do that as police often advised the victims to reach a compromise and recover some of their money rather than go into litigation and probably lose all.
In fact, only three days after claiming to the interior minister that he was on the hit list of the militants, Reayatullah paid his latest victim, Mohammad Younus, Rs100,000 and secured bail against a bogus cheque for Rs342,000 that he owed the victim.
Hukum Dad was the first victim to go to the police. He said in the FIR he lodged with Shalimar police on October 7, 2009, that Reayatullah had taken Rs500,000 from him in 2008 in Kohistan area, close to Swat, to get a job for his brother. He failed to arrange the job and issued three cheques to return the amount but all three bounced.
Ramna police have registered two complaints against – one in September 2011 after he was caught driving a stolen car, and the other in April 2012 in which a citizen, Wali Mohammad Anjum, accused him of taking a loan of Rs310,000 from him and twice issued bogus cheques to pay back he money.
Anjum told Dawn that police investigators had advised him to settle the matter out of the court.
According to police sources, Reayatullah is adept in spinning tales and glib talk.
In his application to the interior minister he claimed that he had helped the civil and military authorities to build peace and defend the rights of women and children in Swat and Malakand but had to move to Islamabad in 2007 when the situation started deteriorating there.
On October 3, he said, he noticed his residence in sector G-11/1 marked by a red cross and removed it. But it reappeared again and on October 11 he received two threatening calls that assassins have reached Islamabad to kill his daughter.
Later some people were spotted taking photographs of his house, he claimed, according to the police.