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Arrest made in Christian politician extortion case

Pakistan police hold man posing as Taliban commander

Arrest made in Christian politician extortion case

Michael Javed, left, says he received 70 extrotion threats in four days reporter, Karachi

September 12, 2013

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An Afghani national posing as a Taliban commander has been arrested in connection with demanding money from a Christian politician in Pakistan, police say.

The suspect, identified as Shukurullah, had demanded Rs2 million (US$19,000) from former Christian lawmaker Michael Javed.

Javed believes that he was being targeted for speaking out against concerns that land grabbers would take the houses of poor inhabitants of Essa Nagri, a 40,000-strong Christian neighborhood in Karachi.

“Shukurullah was arrested during a raid at Al-Asif Square in Karachi,” Moin Abdullah, inspector of the police’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU), told “One pistol, many cell phone SIMs and mobile phones have been recovered from the possession of the accused.”

Police say that a search is under way to apprehend his two accomplices, who had managed to escape. 

“We got a 14-day physical remand of the accused yesterday to carry out further investigation,” Moin said.

All three accused are members of the Pashtun Student Federation (PSF) and have links with the Awami National Party (ANP), the former ruling party of the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Javed, a former Sindh minister and member of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, said he has recognized the voice of the arrested man. “I haven’t received any threat from the extortionists for three days,” he said.

He added that a police constable, who was stationed at his house for security, did not return after one day and that he had informed police officials of his absence from duty. 

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