Reports of Shahid Bilal’s death

…have been greatly exaggerated

As expected, Praveen Swami shines the light on the business:

While the Indian media accounts have claimed that Mr. Shahed was one of the two men on the motorcycle [who were gunned down], the Karachi police records identify them as 33-year-old Ahmad Rafiq and 35-year-old Mohammad Aslam. Both men were residents of the Lasi Goth neighbourhood of northern Karachi — a fact journalists contacted by The Hindu were able to confirm after speaking with local residents.

Sindh Police Inspector-General Major (retired) Zia-ud-Din, has also denied the Indian media claims that either Mr. Rafiq or Mr. Aslam was in fact Mr. Shahed. Both men, he said, were Pakistani nationals well known among their communities. However, no motives have so far been officially ascribed for the killings, which may have been linked to the ongoing political and communal conflicts in Karachi.

Intelligence sources in New Delhi confirmed that there was mounting scepticism of the media claims on Mr. Shahed’s death, which was for the most part founded on rumours that swirled around Hyderabad a fortnight ago — rumours which some in India’s external intelligence service, the Research and Analysis Wing, felt were confirmed by the Karachi killings.
Unusual silence

“What I can say for a fact,” a senior intelligence official said, “is that we have had no confirmed sighting of Mr. Shahed for some two weeks, or signs that he initiated Internet or telephone communications with his subordinates. This silence is unusual. However, his associates in Karachi and Dhaka are still in their locations. Had their chief been killed by either the ISI or an Indian covert group, they would likely have dispersed.” [The Hindu]

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