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Intelligence points to 2012 plot to kill Asma Jahangir: report

September 04, 2013
Rights activist Asma Jahangir. — File photo
Rights activist Asma Jahangir. — File photo

Reports based on communication intercepts from 2010 to 2012 and other intelligence in classified documents available with the Washington Post indicate that officials in Pakistan’s security apparatus weren’t only targeting suspected insurgents when it came to extra-judicial action and that there was in deed a plot in the works to "eliminate" prominent rights activist Asma Jahangir.

According to the summary of a top-secret Defence Intelligence Agency (report), US intelligence agencies had in May 2012 discovered evidence of Pakistani officers plotting to kill Jahangir.

The DIA report did not identify which officers were plotting the attack against the activist, but said the plan “included either tasking militants to kill her in India or tasking militants or criminals to kill her in Pakistan”.

The US agency said it did not know whether the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of which Jahangir has been a leading public critic, had approved for the plot to proceed. And although, the report speculated that the ISI was motivated to kill Jahangir “to quiet public criticism of the military,” the agency noted that such a plot “would result in international and domestic backlash as ISI is already under significant criticism for intimidation and extra-judicial killings”.

News of the alleged plot became public a few weeks later when Jahangir gave interviews in the Pakistani media, saying she had learned that officials of Pakistani intelligence had authorised her killing.

Addressing reporters on June 4, 2012, Jahangir had said that through a security leak brought to her attention by a highly credible source, she had discovered that an assassination attempt was being planned against her from the highest levels of the security establishment.

Jahangir said she thought it best to go public with the information as she feared that she could be killed and a member of her family framed for the murder.