Khalid Khawaja

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Khalid Khawaja
Nickname(s) Colonel Khawaja
Born 1951[1]
Jaranwala, Punjab province
Died April 30, 2010
Karam Kot, North Waziristan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
Buried at Islamabad
Allegiance  Pakistan
Service/branch  Pakistan Air Force
Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)
Years of service 1971–1986
Rank Sqn Ldr.png Squadron Leader (Major)
Unit No. 16 Squadron Panthers
Special Service Wing (SSW)
Battles/wars Indo-Pakistan War of 1971
Soviet-Afghanistan War

Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja (1951–2010) was an Air Force officer, and the Air Force's intelligence officer of the Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency.[2][3] A former member of Special Service Wing (SSW) and a veteran of Soviet war in Afghanistan, Khawaja described himself as a close associate of Osama bin Laden in the early days of the Afghan resistance against the Soviet Union.[4] He was once suspected of being involved in the murder of American reporter Daniel Pearl. This was later proved to be false, but he did connect Pearl with men who would eventually kill him.

Military career[edit]

Khawaja gained commission in Pakistan Air Force in January 1971. He completed his aviation training to became an aviator of Alouette III, and was selected to sent to PAF Special Warfare School. After his graduation in JUNE 1973, Khawaja as flying officer, was selected and joined the 312th Special Service Wing as a flight specialist. A former member of Special Service Wing, Squadron Leader Khawaja actviely participated in Soviet war in Afghanistan along with elite Black Storks, also known as Special Service Group. In 1985, Squadron Leader Khawaja pursued his career to became an intelligence officer. After passing the selection exam, Khawaja joined ISI where he actively participated in Soviet war in Afghanistan. In 1987, former President and Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq dismissed him from his position for his "outspoken views", a subsequent forced-retirement given by the Pakistan's Judge Advocate General Branch in 1987.[5]

Asia Times comments[edit]

A November 9, 2005, article in the Asia Times described Khawaja as the "point man" for Mansoor Ijaz, which it describes as "...a US citizen of Pakistani origin with close ties to the right wing of the Republican Party".[7] The Asia Times says that Ijaz is negotiating a peace with the remaining elements of the Taliban, with Khawaja's assistance. The Associated Press names Khawaja a spokesman for a Pakistani human rights group named Defense of Human Rights.[8]

Friend of Khadr family[edit]

A noted friend of the Egyptian-Canadian Khadr family, Khawaja spoke in their defence saying they were being unfairly targeted by Canadian authorities because of deference to the United States, and Islamophobia.[9] He has also said that Canada is "selfish and self-centred" and deserves to be bombed by terrorists.[10]

Deborah Scroggins, author of the book Wanted Women, describes meeting Zaynab while she was a house-guest of Khawaja, in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2004.[11]

Arrest[edit]

Khawaja was arrested in Aabpara on January 26, 2007, on charges of distributing hate material (Section 295A of the Pakistan Penal Code), which he denied.[12]

Death[edit]

He was found dead in Mir Ali on April 30, 2010 – a month after being kidnapped by a group calling themselves the "Asian Tigers", while filming a documentary about Colonel Imam. Imam, British journalist Asad Qureshi and Qureshi's driver Rustam Khan were also kidnapped with Khawaja. Qureshi and Khan were released in September 2010. Imam was killed in January 2011.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Geo Television Network
  2. ^ http://jang.com.pk/jang/may2010-daily/02-05-2010/main2.htm
  3. ^ Taken for a ride in the 'war on terror', Asia Times, December 9, 2005.
  4. ^ Bush breeds a million bin Ladens, Al-Jazeerah.info, March 14, 2003.
  5. ^ The pawns who pay as powers play, Asia Times, June 22, 2005.
  6. ^ Bell, Stewart. "The Martyr's Oath", 2005.
  7. ^ Time to talk: US engages the Taliban, Asia Times, November 22, 2005.
  8. ^ 2 Pakistanis in Guantanamo Bay should be released, rights group says, International Herald Tribune, November 23, 2006.
  9. ^ Bell, Stewart. National Post, "Khadrs Reveal Bin Laden Ties", January 24, 2004.
  10. ^ Bell, Stewart. National Post, "Al-Qaeda says Canada deserves bombing ", May 15, 2004.
  11. ^ Deborah Scroggins (2012). Wanted Women -- Faith, lies & the war on terror: The lives of Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Aaafia Siddiqui. Harper Collins. pp. 303, 304, 305–306, 428. ISBN 9780062097958. Retrieved 2013-06-16. "She had then grown up with the children of the world's most militant jihadis and had later spent her youth in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, a period she described as "the best five years of my life."" 
  12. ^ Khawaja denied bail, Daily Times (of Pakistan), February 4, 2007.
  13. ^ Former ISI official’s body found in FATA – The Express Tribune