(HN, 4/30/2012) - A Yemen born, Scottish UK citizen and senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Dr. Khalil Asjad Dale, 60 who had been kidnapped in January in southwestern Pakistan, was killed by his captors and his bullet-riddled body was beheaded and found in an orchard near Killi Umar, on a road leading to the airport in Quetta on Sunday. Dr. Dale was engaged to be married to a nurse, Anne, in Australia. He changed his name from Ken when he became a Muslim.
Dr. Dale had been taken by unidentified armed men from the Chaman Housing Complex in Quetta earlier this year. Police said they received some tips about the presence of a dumped bag and when it was opened a body was found in it that was later identified as that of Dr. Dale.
The body was “fresh” and had been slaughtered, said doctors at the Civil Hospital where his body was taken for autopsy. A letter recovered from his pocket said: “This is the body of Dr. Khalil Asjad who had been kidnapped four months ago and was killed because our demands were not accepted.” Demands that included a $30 million ransom.
The note further said "we (Taliban) claim responsibility for his murder. We will release video of this killing as the organization did not fulfill our demands despite repeated warnings."
The ICRC has been active in Pakistan since 1947, providing humanitarian services in the field of healthcare, in particular physical rehabilitation. Director-General Yves Daccord said, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this barbaric act".
"All of us at the ICRC and at the British Red Cross share the grief and outrage of Khalil's family and friends. We are devastated," Daccord said, adding that the aid worker - who had worked in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq for the ICRC - was a "trusted and very experienced Red Cross staff member".
The ICRC had announced a reduction of its activities in Pakistan just days before Dale's abduction with the closure of three of its centers in the restive northwest. But after Dale's abduction, the organization vowed to continue its work in the troubled country.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said London had tried tirelessly to secure Dale's release. "This was a senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan, and causing immeasurable pain to those who knew Dale," he said in a statement.
Pakistan also condemned "the barbaric act" and vowed "to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice".
Officials of the Balochistan government said they had already asked all foreigners working with NGO's and UN organizations to restrict their movements and not to go anywhere without informing the provincial home and tribal affairs department.
Much of Balochistan and the tribal regions close to Afghanistan are out of Pakistani government control, and make good places to keep hostages. Ransoms are often paid to secure their release, but such payments are rarely confirmed.
Abductions are `Common'
The parents of five kidnapped employees of the Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP), a foreign NGO, were collecting donations by setting up a fund raising camp at the Bacha Khan Chowk to pay over Rs220 million as ransom to the captors for their release. "Please help us so that we can pay the ransom and secure the release of our children," said one banner at the fund raising camp.
Meanwhile, five persons were killed in separate incidents of violence in different localities of Balochistan on Sunday. Unknown armed men opened fire on a motorcycle carrying a man and his son near Hub city, killing them both. In a separate incident in Dast Goran area of Kalat two persons were killed in another firing attack. Also, unknown men blew up a portion of the 16-inch diameter gas pipeline in the Pirkoh area of Dera Bugti district on Sunday. On Saturday night, unidentified men blew up a portion of the Quetta-Taftan railway track damaging a portion of the track passing through the Ahmadwal area of Noshki district.
Last August, a 70-year-old an American contractor, and director in Pakistan for J.E. Austin Associates, Warren Weinstein, was kidnapped from his house in the Punjabi city of Lahore. Al-Qaeda claimed to be holding him and said in a video he would be released if the US stopped airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
A Swiss couple Olivier David Och and Daniela Widmer who were seized last year by the Pakistani Taliban were released in March. An Islamist extremist group said a ransom had been paid, but the Swiss and Pakistani government denied the claim.
Dr. Dale, of the Red Cross, had previously been awarded the MBE for his humanitarian work overseas by the British government. "It's unbelievable what they've done to Ken," a friend and former colleague, Sheila Howat, said. "It's soul-destroying. For someone who has ... devoted their life to caring for others - it's just so wrong. Ken was an absolutely lovely person who saw good in everybody. He wanted to make the world a better place for people who had nothing."