Failed plot to kill dissident Pakistani activist exposed in London trial

LONDON/ROTTERDAM: A failed plot to kill dissident Pakistani activist Ahmad Waqas Goraya has been exposed in a trial in London.

31-year-old former grocery store employee Gohir Khan had been offered a sum of £80,000 to murder Goraya who now resides in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. £20,000 was offered to the middleman setting up this alleged hit job.

Damning details emerged in Gohir Khan’s trial at the Kingston upon Thames Crown Court yesterday, reflecting text messages between Gohir Khan and a handler referred to as ‘Mudz’.

Khan was allegedly under heavy debts and initially appeared enthusiastic about the murder, admitting to a text conversation with the handler but saying that he never intended to carry out the murder.

“Is it a deep sea fish, or just tuna?” Khan asked the middleman, gauging the significance of the intended target. Khan also stated that a “shark” would be more expensive.

The handler replied, “just tuna, but not UK tuna, European tuna. A bit of travelling involved.”

Metaphors related to fishing were frequently used between Khan and Mudz, suggesting that the duo used this as a means to encrypt their conversation.

Khan’s claim of not intending to murder Goraya is contrary to the fact that he travelled to Rotterdam, bought a knife and scouted for the whereabouts of Goraya.

After being unable to find Goraya who was away from his home during that time, Khan travelled back to the UK where he was arrested.

According to the prosecution: “Someone wanted him [Goraya] to be killed and it may well be that the motive for killing him was linked to his political activism. Those who wanted Mr Goraya dead were prepared to pay money to ensure that happened. In short, there was a conspiracy to kill Mr Goraya”.

The jury was asked to consider whether Gohir Khan was involved in the conspiracy to kill Goraya.

Waqas Goraya is an outspoken critic of Pakistan’s armed forces and frequently tweets against the ruling party as well as the senior Pakistani military leadership.

In 2017, he was abducted in Islamabad and was kept in custody for several days before being released. The reason for his abduction is considered to be his social media posts critical of the country’s establishment and religious structure. Goraya claims he was tortured whilst in custody.

Various allegations of abuse surfaced against Goraya by a Pakistani journalist which was reported on little known news websites.

Journalist Javeria Khan has claimed that Goraya has abused her on Twitter.

Goraya himself appears to be relaxed and jubilant after the recent developments, tweeting that he would have not tweeted for 2 months if the people who tried to kill him just sent him the money instead of the assassin.

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