QUETTA: The Barkhan triple murder saga saw dramatic twists on Wednesday after police arrested the provincial minister accused of being behind the deaths of a woman and three young men that were allegedly being kept in his private jail.

Sources told Dawn late on Wednesday night that levies personnel had recovered three members of Khan Muhammad Marri’s family, including his wife and two children.

Sources said that Granaz, her 17-year-old daughter Farzana and son Abdul Sattar had been recovered from an area near the border of Duki and Barkhan, but two of Mr Marri’s children had yet to be found.

Sources said levies officials conducted raids on a tip-off at an isolated place and recovered the trio. “The woman and her two children have been handed over to the commissioner Zhob,” the source said, adding that they would be reunited with their family after completing legal formalities.

This followed the revelation by a police surgeon, who said that the body of the woman found in Barkhan — whose face was rendered unrecognisable — did not belong to the 40-something year-old wife of Khan Muhammad Marri, but rather a young woman, around the age of 18.

Police surgeon says dead body belongs to young woman; Sardar Khetran taken into custody as jirga gives govt two days to meet protesters’ demands

Dr Ayesha Faiz, who conducted the postmortem examination of the body of the woman brought to hospital from the sit-in, said that it did not belong to a 40 to 45-year-old woman.

“It was a 17 to 18 year-old girl, who was raped and shot in the head thrice,” she said in her postmortem report, adding that the victim was also tortured.

The report suggested acid was thrown on the face and neck of the girl to hide her identity.

Earlier in the day, police arrested Balochistan Minister for Commutations and Works Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran on Wednesday on charges of killing three persons.

“Yes, Sardar Khetran has been taken into custody by police,” Abdul Khaliq Sheikh, Inspector General of Balochistan, confirmed, adding that a special investigation team of senior police officers has started interrogating the minister.

He said police had conducted raids on all suspected places for the recovery of Khan Muhammad Marri’s five children, including four sons and a daughter. The bodies of two boys, believed to be two of Mr Marri’s sons, were recovered from a well in the Haji Kot area of Barkhan alongside the corpse of a woman, who was earlier thought to be Granaz.

Police had raided the residences of Sardar Khetran in Quetta and Barkhan on Tuesday night.“More arrests are expected in the murder case of the woman and her two sons,” the IG said.

A spokesman for Balochistan police said a nephew of Sardar Khetran was arrested during a raid in the Haji Kot area.

Sources said Sardar Khetran was summoned to the Quetta DIG office for investigation and after initial questioning, the authorities concerned decided to arrest him, after which he was taken into custody.

“Sardar Khetran would be produced before a court on Thursday to obtain his remand,” the spokesman told Dawn, adding that an FIR was registered against the minister at the Barkhan police station over the killings. He said the case was transferred to the Crime Branch Quetta for a transparent investigation into the incident.

A special team, headed by Salman Chaudhry, the Commandant of Balochistan Constabulary, has been constituted to investigate the Barkhan killings. Other members of the team include Quetta DIG retired Capt Azfar Mehsar, the Special Branch DIG and Quetta SSP.

Protest sit-in

The protest sit-in by Marri tribesmen and family members of the Barkhan victims continued on Wednesday in the Red Zone area of the provincial capital. They refused to bury the bodies until Khan Muhammad Marri’s five missing children were recovered and the accused responsible for the killings arrested.

Leaders of different political parties, including Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldani, Mir Naseer Ahmed Shahwani, Ahmed Nawaz Baloch, Shakeela Dehwar and Rehman Baloch, visited the sit-in and expressed solidarity with the protesting family of the victims.

Dr Jamaldani, while condemning the killings, said BNP chief Akhtar Mengal had warned that if Sardar Khetran was not removed from the provincial cabinet, the party would table a no-confidence motion against the chief minister.

Tribal jirga

Meanwhile, a jirga of different tribes on Wednesday strongly condemned the Barkhan killings and gave the government two days to accept all demands of the protesting Marri tribesmen.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2023

Opinion

On writing

On writing

There is no ceremony or ritual that marks any person as a writer except the simple yet unimaginably significant act of starting to write.

Editorial

A way forward
Updated 17 Jul, 2024

A way forward

Before political leaders inflict more damage, they must give talks a chance.
Export delusions
17 Jul, 2024

Export delusions

THE trade ministry’s ‘plan’ to almost double exports to $60bn over the next three years is nothing more than...
Diversity in UK politics
17 Jul, 2024

Diversity in UK politics

THE recent UK elections have ushered in the most diverse parliament in the nation’s history. Under the leadership...
Banning PTI
Updated 16 Jul, 2024

Banning PTI

It appears that the govt and its backers within the establishment have still not realised that they are in uncharted territory.
Nato at 75
16 Jul, 2024

Nato at 75

EMERGING from the ashes of World War II, and locked in confrontation with the Soviet-led Communist bloc for over ...
Non-stop massacres
16 Jul, 2024

Non-stop massacres

Netanyahu is cunningly pretending to talk peace while mercilessly pounding Gaza. What is clear is that a return to pre-Oct 7 status quo is impossible.