The investigations into the death of the principal of Dawood College of Engineering and Technology on Monday have taken a turn for the complicated as his family claimed on Tuesday that it was not an accident or a suicide, but a murder.
“It is a murder and somebody has killed him. We even know the name of the person behind the killing,” a family member told The Express Tribune. “The media is publicising fake news that he committed suicide over a family dispute. He was not involved in any dispute and he did not commit suicide.”
Prof Salman Baloch died on Monday afternoon after he fell from the third floor of the college building. Initially, the police claimed that he had committed suicide but, after the developments on Tuesday, the police have decided to investigate the death and lodge an FIR.
“The family has not agreed to register a case but we are trying to persuade them,” inquiry officer Maqsood Bhutto told The Express Tribune. “The case will be registered on behalf of the state if the family does not agree.”
Initially, all legal formalities were performed under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) 174 of the Pakistan Penal Code but this is not enough as it is a high-profile case, said Bhutto. “We cannot depend only on the CrPc 174,” he said. “We should investigate the case more and for that we need to register an FIR.”
The officer said that the police have yet to question the family, student organisations and college administration among others. There are a number of student organisations working on campus, such as the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba (IJT), Kashmir Student Organisation, Baloch Federation, Sindh Federation, Pakhtoon Student Federation (PSF), Punjabi Student Federation and Imamia Student Organisation. Their office bearers have, however, denied their involvement in the case. All of them believe that the principal committed suicide.
“Why would anyone kill him?” asked PSF chief Zahid Khan Yousufzai. “The professor had no enmity or dispute with anyone and nobody would gain anything by killing him.” Prof. Baloch was a wonderful principal and everybody liked him at college, said Yousufzai.
The college administration and its students were shocked. “We are worried about the cause of his death. Everyone is talking about the incident but nobody has an answer,” said student Muhammad Idrees, who heads the IJT.
According to Idrees, Prof. Baloch was a quiet man. “I could not believe that [the man who allegedly killed himself] is the same principal who sometimes shouted at us. He always seemed to want to solve all our problems [as soon as we brought them up]. I still cannot believe he would do something like this,” he said.
The funeral prayers were offered at a mosque near Baloch’s house and were attended by his students and colleagues. He was buried in a nearby graveyard.
The post-mortem report will take at least another week. Sindh police surgeon Dr Hamid Padhiyar told The Express Tribune that in their report, the doctors said he died from falling off the building but nothing could be said about how he fell.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2011.