New Delhi: A British national of Pakistani origin, Mohhamed Gohir Khan has been found guilty of conspiring to murder a Pakistani blogger living in Netherlands, in an investigation conducted by the Scotland Yard’s Counter-Terrorism Command Unit and the Dutch authorities.
The London-based Khan was charged with the crime by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a United Kingdom-based independent investigation agency, which works in collaboration with the police and courts, on 28 June.
According to a report by Pakistan news agency, The News, “ Mohhamed Gohir Khan is in high-security custody and will be produced at the Old Bailey on 19 July”, Monday.
The target was allegedly Ahmad Waqass Goraya, a social media activist who had gone missing for some weeks in 2017. A ‘liberal’ blogger, Goraya is known for his alleged anti-establishment activism and had been accused of posting blasphemous content on his Facebook page. Blasphemy is a criminal offence in Pakistan and can attract death penalty.
Goraya took refuge in Netherlands in 2017, and in an interview claimed that he was afraid for his life and had been advised to be “careful” by his friends and family. He had claimed then that his activism was “based on the universal declaration of human rights”.
“This is the least we can achieve in Pakistan – the right to assembly, equal rights for all citizens irrespective of their gender, race and faith”, he had added in the 2017 interview.
Who is Mohhamed Gohir Khan
Khan, who finished school in Lahore, Pakistan, moved to London soon after. He is believed to have gained British citizenship through marriage. Khan’s financial records also show that he owned several cargo businesses, one of which was declared bankrupt in February 2020.
According to reports, Khan was produced before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 19 June, where he was remanded in custody, to appear at London’s Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, on 19 July.
The News in its report also mentioned that investigations have revealed “Mohhamed Gohir Khan had travelled from London to Amsterdam, the Netherlands capital, in the second week of February this year. Khan stayed in Amsterdam for three days, hired a car and visited the locality where Goraya lived”.
According to the news report, the Dutch police was aware of Khan’s plans and had already moved Goraya and his family to a secure location.
The article also stated that Khan made several trips to Amsterdam, before being arrested in June, after the Dutch police alerted Scotland Yard detectives.
Khan was arrested twice, on 24 and 25 June. The first arrest had been on “suspicion of failing to comply with a duty imposed under schedule 7, TACT 2000”.
Schedule 7, TACT 2000 or Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, provides powers to ‘examining officers’ at ports and airports, to stop, question and/or detain people, to investigate if they are engaged in acts of terrorism, without the need for any reasonable suspicion.
On 24 June, Scotland Yard detectives arrested Khan at King’s Cross St Pancras International station, when he reached London on a train originally departing from the Netherlands.
He was released on bail with inquiries pending, but was again arrested the next day, under the “suspicion of conspiracy to murder and was charged with the offence of conspiring to assassinate.”
There have been more than one deaths of Pakistan activists living abroad in recent months. Last year, Pakistani activist, Karima Baloch, and journalist Sajid Hussain, who had been living in exile in Canada and Sweden respectively, were found dead under mysterious circumstances.