Arrest kidnappers of Afghan envoy’s daughter in 48 hours, orders PM

Published July 18, 2021
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks to journalists in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks to journalists in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV/File

• Asks interior minister to utilise all resources
• FO says law enforcement agencies tracing culprits
• Police team examining CCTV footage

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday directed Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to utilise all resources to apprehend the culprits involved in the temporary “kidnapping” of the Afghan envoy’s daughter in Islamabad.

Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil’s daughter, Silsila, was abducted from the federal capital’s commercial hub by unidentified persons on Friday who also subjected her to torture.

Reacting to the incident, the Foreign Office (FO) on Saturday said law enforcement agencies were tracing the culprits behind the “manhandling” of the Afghan envoy’s daughter.

Earlier, in a series of tweets, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said Prime Minister Khan had asked him to direct Islamabad police and other law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident on “top priority” and apprehend the culprits within 48 hours.

“Prime Minister has further directed the Interior Minister that Islamabad Police and other law enforcement agencies must investigate the incident on TOP PRIORITY, bring up the truth of the matter and apprehend the culprits within 48 hours,” he tweeted.

In another tweet, he said: “Accordingly, all efforts are being made to thoroughly investigate the matter and apprehend the persons involved in the incident. Islamabad Police is constantly in touch with the girl and family of the Afghan Ambassador.”

According to APP, the interior minister had later told a private news channel that the kidnappers would be arrested soon.

He said the law enforcement agencies had found the second taxi driver who had dropped her.

“We are in contact with the ambassador’s family and inquiring the matter through (information gleaned from) CCTV cameras of the market,” Mr Ahmed said.

On the other hand, the Foreign Office said law enforcement agencies were tracing the culprits behind the “manhandling” of Mr Alikhil’s daughter in the federal capital.

“While the security of the Ambassador and his family has been beefed up, law enforcement agencies are trying to trace and apprehend the culprits to be brought to justice,” FO said hours after reports of the envoy’s daughter’s abduction and torture became public.

Silsila Alikhil, 27, was returning home on Friday afternoon in a taxi after visiting a bakery in Blue Area when the driver picked up another man, who verbally abused and assaulted her.

Silsila was later dropped by the taxi driver unconscious on a roadside.

Her medical report confirmed that she had been physically assaulted.

The FO statement said: “As reported to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the Embassy of Afghanistan in Islamabad, yesterday, the daughter of the Ambassador was assaulted while riding a rented vehicle.”

Islamabad police, it said, had begun their investigation.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant security authorities are closely in contact with the Ambassador and his family and extending full support in the matter,” the FO said.

“It is reiterated that the safety and security of the diplomatic missions as well as the diplomats and their families is of utmost importance. Such incidents can and will not be tolerated,” it added.

On the other hand, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), in a statement issued from Kabul, said Silsila Alikhil was “abducted” and “severely tortured” by unidentified persons.

The Afghan MoFA condemned, what it called, a “heinous act” and expressed its “deep concern” over the safety and security of diplomats, their families and staff members of the Afghan diplomatic missions in Pakistan.

It urged Pakistan to take “immediate necessary actions” for providing “full security” to Afghan embassy and consulates as well as their diplomats, staffers and their families.

Kabul also asked Pakistani authorities to identify and prosecute the perpetrators at the earliest.

Meanwhile, officials of the capital police told Dawn, on condition of anonymity, that Silsila had come to a shop in Blue Area. As she took a taxi back home at around 2:30pm, an unidentified man got into the vehicle. When she protested, the man started hitting her as a result of which she fell unconscious and was later dropped at a roadside.

According to the officials, the injured woman reached a private hospital where the staff informed the police who then took her to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) for medical examination.

On getting information, Kohsar police searched the area around Blue Area and F-7 where the incident took place, the officials said, adding that a team had been constituted to examine CCTV footage of Safe City.

Another police team was also gathering details through human intelligence and geo-fencing of the two areas was also being conducted.

The police officials said so far no formal complaint had been lodged about the incident; however, they had been informed that it would be filed via the Foreign Office.

“The police are in contact with the FO,” an official said.

According to sources in Pims, the police brought the woman to Pims at around 9:08pm. Her medical examination suggested that she had been physically assaulted.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2021

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