Pakistan's army has condemned the killing of an outspoken critic of the country's political and military leaders, saying state security forces were not responsible for his death.
Tuesday's reaction by an army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, said it was "ill-intended propaganda to implicate state agencies" in the activist Mohammad Bilal Khan's death.
Pakistani police said that an activist known for his online criticism of the country’s military and politicians has been killed by unknown assailants in a wooded area of the capital, Islamabad. Local police official Ayaz Khan said Mohammad Bilal Khan was killed Sunday night, drawing condemnation from his friends on social media.
Police said Monday that an unknown person called the activist to come to the Karachi Company neighborhood, where he and his cousin were attacked with daggers.
The cousin was in critical condition. In addition to his activism, Khan was a freelance journalist.
The attack took place hours after Khan bluntly criticized the newly appointed spy chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, who had previously worked as the head of internal security at Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence.
Khan was known to have close ties with hardliner Islamist groups. His Twitter account, which he used to regularly criticize Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan's powerful security forces, had over 16,000 followers at the time of his death.