Orders for Shujaat Bukhari's killing came from Pakistan: Police
Police investigating esteemed journalist Shujaat Bukhari's murder have revealed that the orders for the killing had apparently come from Pakistan-based sources, who were unhappy with his efforts to broker peace in the Valley. The latest to back such claims is Pakistani journalist Ershad Mahmud, who was close to Bukhari. A campaign against Bukhari had started after a Track-II conference last July in Dubai.
According to a June 16 Facebook post by Mahmud, who had also attended the Dubai conference, Bukhari's views opposed those of separatists and the United Jihad Council headed by Hizbul Mujahideen leader Sayeed Salahudeen. Bukhari knew he was in trouble and wanted Mahmud to intercede. On his behest, Mahmud had apparently intervened after Salahudeen called the Rising Kashmir editor a "paid agent of India."
Investigators are examining Mahmud's claims, which have named both separatists and their intelligence agency mentors across the border. Evidence of a hate campaign is rampant: days before his murder, a blog had targeted him in a post titled "Touts who are betraying the Kashmir struggle." Twenty minutes before he was killed, he had told Iftikhar Gilani of DNA that "the social media campaign was getting shriller."
Police said they have got concrete clues, the killers have been identified, and the case will be cracked very soon, maybe by June end. His murder also served as a threat to other journalists, police said, warning them to only voice Pakistan's official stand.
Incidentally, Kashmir BJP leader Lal Singh stoked a controversy as he echoed similar views and warned scribes to draw a line, reminding them of Bukhari. During a media interaction, Singh accused Kashmiri journalists of creating 'an erroneous atmosphere'. "I would like to ask them (Kashmiri journalists) to draw a line...You want to live like what happened to Basharat (Shujaat Bukhari)," he said.
On June 14, Bukhari was gunned down by bike-borne miscreants, moments after he had left his Press Colony office. He was an active part of the Track-II process, which involves consultations between non-state entities, particularly individuals and groups aiming to build trust and keeping back-channel communication links open.