Activist's death sparks protest in KP's Malakand, deputy and assistant commissioner suspended

Published November 9, 2021
A file photo of slain social media activist Muhammad Zada Agra. — Photo provided by author
A file photo of slain social media activist Muhammad Zada Agra. — Photo provided by author

The deputy commissioner (DC) and assistant commissioner (AC) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Malakand district were suspended on Tuesday after a social activist was allegedly killed in the region's Sakhakot area the previous day.

According to the FIR of the incident, Muhammad Zada Agra was shot dead by two unidentified men on a motorcycle near his residence in Sakhakot on Monday night. He was also the former district president of the Insaf Students Federation — the student wing of the PTI.

In a Facebook post on October 12, Agra had alleged that the DC, in collusion with his political opponents, was trying to harass him, as part of a "dirty conspiracy". He had also accused the DC of misusing his authority to arrest him. Zada had added that if anything happened to him as a result of this "dirty conspiracy", the Malakand DC was to be held responsible.

According to local journalists and businessmen, Agra was active on social media and used to frequently raise his voice against the drug mafia in the region.

The alleged killing stirred an outcry in the area, leading to a protest on Tuesday. Different political parties, social organisations and the slain activist's family called for the suspension of the two officials and the registration of an FIR against them.

Protesters sat with Agra's body on the road for around five hours for the fulfilment of their demands. The victim was later laid to rest after KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan ordered action against the AC and DC.

In a tweet, provincial information minister Kamran Bangash said that the action against the officials was taken on the directives of the chief minister.

"CM Mahmood Khan has taken a strict [action] against the murder of Muhammad Zada in Sakhakot. DC and AC Malakand have been suspended and made OSD (officer on special duty). A rigorous inquiry report has been ordered to be presented ASAP by the office of KP CM," he tweeted.

Meanwhile, a notification issued by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Establishment Department directed Malakand DC Altaf Ahmed Sheikh and Malakand AC Fawad Khattak to report to the department for further posting.

The notification, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, added that the Malakand additional deputy commissioner had been authorised to hold the additional charge of DC, while the additional assistant commissioner was given the additional charge of AC until further orders.


Additional reporting by Sirajuddin

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