After cleaning the black Santro on Wednesday morning Zubair Arif’s driver did not know that instead of driving 13-year-old Rida to school, he would walk into the house to find the family dead.
“What should I do?” said Arif’s brother-in-law Arshad Raheel who found out about the murder after a friend told him to watch the news. “Is my sister dead? All of them have been killed? Someone must have survived!”
Shocked members of the Memon Bawani family started to pour into the house after hearing about the incident on the news. A family friend walked in and asked if the bodies were found in the house. She burst into tears when the authorities said they were.
The police claim that when no one answered the door, the driver went to Arif’s sister who also lived in Askari. Arif, his wife Aliya, daughter and parents were stabbed to death with a sharp object on Tuesday night. SSP South Naseem Sheikh said that they were interrogating the driver and a house worker who used to live in the quarters behind the house in Askari III near Cantt Station. He added that there were no marks on the body that would indicate that the family members were bound in any way before they were stabbed.
Out of the hundreds of houses and apartments in Askari, this house was one of the two semi-detached plots which faced the main road, with an empty house on the right and FG Public School on the left. The wall between Arif’s house and the school was razed and they used a green construction net to define the boundary. The wall between the house and school was so low that anyone over five feet could easily climb over and enter the house without being noticed. However, the police said that it was too early to say anything about the motive. They ruled out the possibility of the homicide being a robbery.
According to Raheel, Arif worked at a call centre but the police believe that he was unemployed. Aliya was a school teacher while Rida was a ninth grade student at St Michael’s Convent School, Arif’s father was identified as 68-year-old Arif Bawany, a businessman who had closed down his thread factory a couple of years ago. His mother was identified as a homemaker in her 60s.
According to the Edhi Centre volunteer Muhammad Shahid, the bodies of the adults were kept in a small room which had a bed and cupboard while the girl’s body was kept in a room on the first floor. He added that Bawany was wearing a shalwar and shirt while his son was wearing trousers, a dress shirt and boots.
DIG South Shaukat Ali Shah said that it looked like there might be more than one suspect. He added that a chemical examination would tell if the family was poisoned. No murder weapon was found at the scene of the crime.
The residents of Askari were traumatized and said that nothing like this had happened before. Some residents expressed anger at the police. Kamran who lives across the road in Askari II apartments, said that three to five police constables monitor the road every day to stop motorcycles and they were nowhere to be seen now.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2012.