Karachi: ‘TTP’ extortionists attack PPP leader’s house
KARACHI: Pay up or be prepared to be prepared to dig your on graves, was the threat Pakistan People’s Party District Central General Secretary Haji Sher Malik and his family received from extortionists. When he failed to deliver the millions demanded within the given deadline, the criminals sprayed his house in the Khawaja Ajmer Nagri police limits with bullets on Thursday to issue a warning that would send shivers down his spine. The PPP leader had been receiving threats from people claiming to be part of the fearsome Tehreek–e-Taliban since November 17, 2012. However, Malik believed that his tormentors were using the name of the militant outfit to create a heightened sense of fear.
“Some of my reliable connections have confirmed that the calls were not made by the TTP. My sources claim the TTP was perplexed and denied its involvement,” the PPP leader mentioned.
However, when an officer of the Khawaja Ajmeer Nagri Police Station was contacted, he said that in FIR No495/12, “the applicant has stated that he was receiving threats from the TTP and has been asked to pay extortion money”.
Recalling the menacing calls, Malik said that at first, a man came on the line and introduced himself as a member of the TTP and demanded Rs7 million. The caller warned that failure to produce the money could result in either his or his son’s death. They also threatened the life of Malik’s nephew.
“I have been receiving calls from different cellular numbers ever since and now the extortionists have threatened to kill my entire family as I ignored their warning and refused to pay,” he told The News. According to the PPP leader, the callers said that the lives of his family members depended on the manner in which he responded.
Malik, who is also a member of the Loya Jirga of the Pakhtun Action Committee (PAC), submitted a request at the local police station and asked them to trace and arrest the callers.
After the firing at his house on Thursday, the Khawaja Ajmeer Nagri police and deputy inspector general District Central visited Malik’s residence. However, no arrests were made till the filing of this report.
Replying to a question, Malik said that an FIR had been lodged and the law enforcers were trying their best to arrest the people involved. “The police are busy with the security arrangements for Muharram and will use their resources to arrest the killers after the 10th,” he stated.
Najeeb Khan, the son of Malik, said the person on the phone claimed that the TTP needed the money to combat the operation launched against the militant organisation by the government. He confirmed that his father had been warned of dire consequences if he did not pay.
According to Najeeb Khan, who is the general secretary of the Awami National Party Sindh’s PS-98, Malik was given a deadline of two days to come up with the Rs7 million demanded as extortion money when he was first contacted on November 17.
“My father runs a real estate business and when he received the first call, he approached the local police station and filed a complaint,” he said.
“I cannot say if the callers were members of the TTP or supported by the militant group, but the situation created much tension for the family,” he concluded.
The chairman of the Loya Jirga of PAC, Senator Shahi Syed, condemned the firing on the house of Malik and demanded that the government immediately arrest the culprits.