Members of the opposition in the Senate on Monday raised suspicion over the "sudden death" of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) leader and former senator Usman Khan Kakar and demanded a parliamentary probe to “dig out the truth”.
Usman Khan Kakar passed away at a hospital in Karachi today where he was being treated for a head injury which he had reportedly sustained at his residence in Quetta.
His personal physician, Dr Samad Panezai, told Dawn.com that it was not known what actually caused the injury to Kakar, who had been found by his family lying on a carpet in his drawing room at his Quetta home, with blood flowing from his head.
Speaking on the floor of the House today, Senator Muhammad Akram of the National Party claimed that Kakar would always say that he faced the biggest threat from certain security agencies.
The senator added that Kakar's sudden death may have “some background to it”.
Senator Saleem Mandviwala of the PPP said Kakar's family believed his death was a "murder". He said doctors were also skeptical about how such profuse bleeding in the head could be caused by a mere fall. He demanded the Sindh and Balochistan governments to conduct a thorough investigation into his death.
PPP's Shahadat Awan also said that doubts were being raised about certain security agencies after the death of Usman Kakar.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani informed the House that medical teams were conducting a post-mortem on Kakar on the family's request.
Senator Kamran Murtaza, belonging to the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Pakistan (JUI-P), said Kakar's family were demanding a probe into his death. His family have not, however, registered an FIR of the incident yet.
“He was alone at the time he fell in the house, and if somebody was there, he should not have been lying there for an hour or so,” said Murtaza.
The senator said the nature of Kakar’s death had raised questions, adding “it is now responsibility of the House to order a probe into his ‘suspicious’ death.”
He demanded that a committee comprising members of the House be formed to investigate the matter.
Maulana Attaur Rehman of the JUI-P claimed that Usman Khan Kakar had received several threats in the past and now his death was shrouded in mystery. He said it was “perceptible until the last time that he will be 'taken out' of the way.”
He said if someone was involved in the death of Usman Kakar, he should be brought to justice. He also demanded a parliamentary committee to probe the matter.
Senator Haji Hidayatullah also voiced his concern on the death of Kakar and sought an investigation into it.
Ali Muhammad Khan, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, said he was deeply grieved to discover about the passing of Usman Kakar. "I had ideological differences with him, but he remained firm to his ideology. I still can't believe he is no more."
Later, a resolution was also passed by the House, expressing condolence on the the former senator's demise and hailing his services as a democrat.
The resolution, presented by leader of the opposition Yousuf Raza Gilani, appreciated Usman Kakar for his services for the supremacy of democracy. “He joined the PkMAP in 1996 and being a senator, he delivered speeches on matters of national and international significance. He was a human rights activist and his services shall always be remembered,” reads the resolution.
Meanwhile, MNA Mohsin Dawar quoted observations from doctors and suggested that the injury to Kakar's head “was too severe to result from a fall.” He extended support to the ex-senator’s family and demanded a “complete investigation”.
Kakar was elected to the Upper House in March 2015 and remained a vocal senator till his tenure ended in March 2021.
Condolences poured in from leaders across the political spectrum after the news of his demise.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz praised him as a "a strong voice of democracy and a front line soldier of the struggle for civilian supremacy". She added that she would always remember her conversations with him and the memory of his struggle would be kept alive.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said he was "deeply saddened" by Kakar's sudden demise. He said Kakar had been a "dear friend" whose services for democracy and politics will be remembered forever.
Several other political figures also expressed condolences on the death of Usman Kakar and hailed him as a dedicated democrat.