Tribal elder falsely reported as Taliban Commander is arrested by Karachi Police – by Saleem Khan Muhmand

Here is an example of how the print and electronic media in Pakistan is busy in breaking the carefully manufactured news without verification. This is an example of a sad alliance between Pakistani military and media.

This is the tragic story of Malik Sarzameen Khan, a tribal elder who is equally despised by the Taliban and the security forces, has been hiding in various cities across the country for the last two years, and is currently in coma after a recent attack by the Taliban.

On the contrary, Pakistani media is reporting that Karachi Police has arrested an injured Taliban Commander from a private hospital in Karachi.

There are many factual mistakes in the account of this arrest.

1. He is an anti-Taliban elder, not a Taliban Commander.

2. He was not admitted four days ago. He is under treatment in that hospital (Health Care near McDonald Hyderi branch) for the last 11 days.

3. He was not directly admitted to the hospital, as he was provided the First Aid at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, then was brought to the hospital he is arrested from.

4. The news segment gives impression that being a Taliban commander he would have been brought from his native area of Mohmand Agency, where a farce military operation is currently going on. This is wrong. Malik Sarzameen Khan is neither a Taliban commander nor he is shot in the operation. He is a Malik from Mohmand Agency Shahbaz Khel Safi tribe. Actually he was shot here in new Karachi by the Taliban outside a mosque after the Friday prayers on 4 Feb 2011.

He fled his native area after threats by the security agencies as he denied to make a lashkar to participate in the so called fight against the Taliban. However, given his anti-Taliban stance, his house at Chinarey village, Tehsil Safi, Mohmand Agency was torched by the militant Taliban.

The Taliban were pursuing him in various cities as he was on a run from them. He received several unknown calls from resourceful callers who were in full knowledge of his whereabouts.

After hiding in Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Lahore, Mardan and Gujranwala, he finally came to Karachi where he was tracked once again and shot.

Luckily he survived the attack as he saw the assassin and tried to duck the attack, but received one bullet on forehead in a way the bullet went downward toward the jaw. He is in coma since then.

After two successful operations, he is recovering but is still in coma.

As he was popular among his fellow tribesmen living in various areas of Karachi, hundreds of people gathered at the hospital on the very first day and were visiting him for the last two weeks.

According to our sources, the Ajmer Nagri Police had immense pressure from Islamabad to arrest this man but we were resisting due to his good reputation among the people, large number of visitors and his critical health condition.

However, it seems that the police could not resist any further and were forced to detain and hand him over to the intelligence agencies.

His villagers and relatives who were at the hospital were also detained by the Ajmer Nagri Police and are being demanded huge bribes.

The way the media has been fed and made to propagate this ‘news, private hospitals in Karachi and elsewhere will be reluctant to accept Pashtun patients and injured persons because of the feared reprisal by the intelligence agencies.

This is tantamount to ethnic hate and stereotyping. For instance, Government hospitals such as Abbasi Shaheed have already started refusing admission of injured Pushtuns as the hospital is controlled by the MQM (and their mentors), and one can’t get admitted without the permission of the local unit in charge.



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