The head of Victim Support – the national charity for victims of crime in England and Wales – has denied claims that he led an armed gang to settle a land dispute in Pakistan.
Birmingham-based Javed Khan, who was previously assistant head of the city council’s education department, said that he was the victim of “land grabbers”.
Witnesses of the clash have alleged that when Mr Khan travelled to the village of Haveli Bagal he was accompanied by about eight men armed with automatic rifles to bulldoze a wall in the village graveyard last month.
They claim that he threatened one woman who tried to protect the wall – and that shots were fired in the air.
Victim Support is examining the allegations against Mr Khan in line with instructions from the Charity Commission. He has continued working in his role of chief executive of the charity which gives free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their families and friends.
The 50-year-old is due to take up a new post as chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardo’s in the spring.
Sources close to Mr Khan said the claims were “a gross distortion of the truth” likely to have been spread by people angry about a recent civil court ruling against them.
One said: “From the outset Javed sought justice via the appropriate channels. He did not break any laws and had the full support of the relevant authorities after it was decided that his family were the victims of an illegal encroachment on their land.”
Describing the melee that followed, the source added: “Whilst the demolition was taking place, the other party ran to the site and, without warning, began to physically attack Javed and his workers. One of them was armed with a handgun which he fired into the air, and personally threatened Javed and the workers.
“In fact, this man went on to strike one of the workmen with the butt of his handgun and caused a head injury. Javed and his workers immediately left the scene and reported the incident to the local police, who arrested the other party.”
The Charity Commission has requested that Victim Support update them on how the dispute progresses.
A Commission spokeswoman said: “We have written to the charity to see what steps they are taking to assess the allegations and we would expect to be kept informed until the matter is resolved. At this stage, it is not clear that there is a regulatory role for the Commission, however we will remain in contact with the trustees and will keep this decision under review.”
Victim Support receives £38 million a year from the Government, and 50-year-old Mr Khan is considered one of the most influential Muslims in Britain. He left Pakistan as a child and settled with his family in Small Heath, Birmingham but the family retained a house and land in their homeland.
A petition has been launched online, urging Victim Support and Barnardos to take note of the allegations against the Birmingham charity chief. It is supported by Steve Kumal, who has uploaded a document that appears to be a Pakistani court summons on his Facebook page, ordering Mr Khan to attend a court hearing to “give reason way (sic) the court should not make the obligatory order against you for violation of the law and thereby punish you according to the law”.
Mr Kumal has posted: “Is it OK for a individual like this to have a job in public office? Is he the right person to lead an organisation which represents vulnerable children? Indeed, is it OK to disregard the legal and judicial system in Pakistan or, for that matter, any country? And why have Victim Support or Barnardos not taken any decisive action against him?
Enid Rowland, the chair of Victim Support, in a statement said that she had spoken to Mr Khan about the claims and that the board was making further enquiries as a matter of urgency.
Barnardo’s, which recently appointed Mr Khan as its new CEO to start in April, said: “We are aware of these reports and are in contact with Victim Support about it. We do not have any further comment to make at this time.”