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U.K. Man Found Guilty of Plotting to Kill Pakistani Blogger

by Newsweek Pakistan

Blogger Ahmad Waqass Goraya. Photo courtesy Twitter

Gohir Khan will be sentenced in March for his role as a hitman hired to kill Ahmad Waqas Goraya by a Pakistan-based man

British national Muhammad Gohir Khan was on Friday found guilty of plotting to kill Pakistani blogger Ahmad Waqas Goraya in The Netherlands after being hired as a hitman for £100,000.

Announcing the verdict, Justice Hilliard said the 31-year-old Khan had been found guilty of conspiracy to murder by a unanimous verdict of a jury of 12. Earlier, the jury had been informed that the supermarket delivery driver had traveled to Rotterdam between February and June 2021 and bought a 19-inch knife to fulfill his contract to murder Goraya. During the proceedings, it emerged that the hitman had been unable to find Goraya at his home and was taken into custody under anti-terror laws upon his return to London.

According to prosecutors, Khan was approached in early 2021 by a Pakistan-based man identified as Muzamil for a “job” to murder Goraya. They said Khan was paid £5,000 in advance via hundi. Under Khan’s agreement with Muzamil, he would be paid the remainder after he had completed his job.

Upon receiving the advance payment, prosecutors said, Khan flew to Amsterdam with a bogus letter of reference but was denied entry due to stringent pandemic rules. He then made a second attempt, and reached Rotterdam via Paris after taking the Eurostar. Khan made several reconnaissance trips to Goraya’s address, but was unable to locate him.

They said Khan had earned £11/hour as a driver and was “enthusiastic” about carrying out the killing—and further attacks within the U.K. and Europe—to earn money. He is heavily in debt, said prosecutors, owing creditors around £200,000. Khan, who lived with his parents, wife and six children in east London, claimed he had no intention of murdering the blogger but played along to “extract money” from his handler.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, Scotland Yard said the investigation was ongoing. Justice Hilliard adjourned sentencing to March 11.

During proceedings, prosecutor Alison Morgan said Goraya appeared to have been targeted for speaking out against the Pakistani authorities in satirical social media posts. She said Khan was hired by “others who appeared to be based in Pakistan,” adding the blogger had been informed he was on a “kill list” by the FBI in 2018.

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