British-Pakistani Gohir Khan, 31, was declared guilty, on Friday, of conspiring to kill self-exiled blogger and activist Ahmad Waqass Goraya in the Netherlands. A jury took two days to deliberate the verdict after both sides concluded their arguments at the Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court, Dawn reported.
Goraya was one of six bloggers that were abducted and later released in Islamabad in 2017, an incident that prompted him to leave Pakistan.
During the trial, the prosecution was able to prove that Khan was hired for the “intended” murder of the activist while it also maintained that Khan tried to travel to Rotterdam in Netherlands twice as part of that intent, only being successful the second time.
The prosecution also showed how the payment for committing the murder was significant, found to be around £100,000, at a time when Khan was in significant debt and had no way of paying it back. Jury was also told that Muzamil, found to be the Pakistan based middleman, offered to pay at least £80,000 for the hit on Goraya, with a £20,000 commission for him.
It is still not known who Muzamil was actually working for but a money trail has been traced from a Pakistani bank account to a hundi transfer in London made to Khan as an advance, which was then used for the travel to Rotterdam.
Khan was denied entry through Amsterdam due to strict pandemic measures, so he resorted to taking the Eurostar from Paris. Upon reaching Amsterdam, Khan also surveyed the area around Goraya’s house and was equipped with necessary tools. Khan was arrested as soon as he reached London and agreed to being cross examined.
Although Khan had accepted that the hit on Goraya was legitimate, he insisted he never really intended to kill the blogger but just wanted the money from Muzamil so that old debts could be settled. But phone exchanges also revealed that Khan was offered future jobs as well, contingent on his success of course.
The defence counsel tried to prove to the jury that Khan was only interested in the money and did not actually want to carry out the job, while pointing to facts like he was still holding on to incriminating evidence like the receipt for the supposed murder weapon. The defence counsel tried to show how if the intent to murder actually existed, receipts and such would be thrown away before Khan’s arrival to London but the jury was not having it. A criminal court is expected to sentence Khan on March 11. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to murder Gorya in June, 2021.
Khan was born in the United Kingdom but left for Lahore when he was enrolled a boarding school at 13. He then returned to London in 2007 but without completing his education as he was struggling with the subjects often being in Urdu. He is the third child of six siblings and his family has been in the UK since the 1970s. Khan himself has only lived at his Forest Gate address since he came back from Lahore and is married with six children.