Five-member team formed to probe murder of anchor, friend

Accused owed over a million rupees to deceased, planned out the crime, attempted suicide, says police

Our Correspondent July 11, 2019
Accused owed over a million rupees to deceased, planned out the crime, attempted suicide, says police. PHOTO: TWITTER/@(SarahShadaab)

KARACHI: A case has been registered against the murderer of private TV channel anchor, Mureed Abbas and his friend, Khizer Hayat. The South DIG formed a special five-member team headed by the South Zone Investigation SSP on Wednesday to probe the incident. The accused, Atif Zaman , who reportedly killed Abbas and Hayat over a personal dispute involving a debt of around Rs120 million. A separate case has also been registered against Zaman for attempt to suicide.

The crime

Abbas and Hayat were gunned down on Tuesday night in Defence Housing Authority Phase VI Bukhari Commercial Area in the jurisdiction of Darakshan Police Station.

TV anchorperson, friend gunned down in Karachi over 'money dispute'

The murder case, under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code, has been registered on behalf of Abbas's wife, Sidra Abbas alias Zara Abbas while another case has been registered against Zaman under Section 325 [attempt to suicide] on behalf of the state.

According to Sidra's statement before the police, Abbas and Hayat were in a dispute with Zaman over money. At around 8pm on Tuesday, Abbas told his wife that Zaman called him over the phone and asked Abbas to come to his office to collect Rs5m of the debt he owed Abbas. Her husband then left for Zaman's office at Bukhari Commercial, said the aggrieved wife.

Sidra then received a call at 8.35pm from the wife of another one of her husband's friends, Umar Rehan, saying that Rehan has told her that Zaman opened fire on Abbas leaving him critically injured. Sidra, accompanied by her father, rushed to Zaman's office where she found her husband covered in blood. She took him to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in an ambulance.

While Sidra was at the hospital, she was informed that Zaman had also killed Hayat outside the building by opening fire on him. The doctors told her that Abbas couldn't survive his injuries and had passed away.

The CCTV footage of the incident shows Zaman, dressed in a T-shirt and pants, wearing a P-Cap, entering the building accompanied by a man in white clothes, identified as Zaman's brother, Adnan Zaman. Adnan can be seen holding a weapon.

They first attempt to reach Zaman's office on the second floor via the elevator, and then use the stairs as the lift was not working. Zaman is then seen returning back downstairs after a few seconds accompanied by Adnan.

The CCTV footage then shows Sidra stepping off the elevator with some men carrying injured Abbas. The police arrive at the scene at the same time.

According to police, panic ensued in the building when Zaman shot Abbas with people hurrying to exit the building. Zaman shot Hayat outside the office. The police said Zaman and his brother had fled the crime scene by the time they arrived.

Initial investigation

Speaking to the media, Darakshan Police SHO Shahjahan Lashari said that police had reached the scene of the crime within minutes of receiving the complaint on Madadgar 15 but the accused had fled by then.

The police raided Zaman's house at Nishat Commercial aided by information provided by Hayat's family. Zaman had shot himself and was in critical condition. Police took Zaman in custody and shifted him to a private hospital in Clifton.  Zaman's brother, Adnan, is on the run.

Lashari said that five empty bullet shells of a 30bore pistol were found from the crime scene and from Zaman's house. The weapon has been sent for forensic analysis.

Besides, he added, the police seized Zaman's car and found 39 bullets scattered in the car while 11 bullets were missing from the bullet case.

According to the SHO, Zaman shot Abbas inside his office and targeted Hayat outside the building from a moving car.  The SHO said that it appeared Zaman was an expert marksman and had carried out the incident after proper planning.

He added that the police could not find the licence for the weapon used to commit the murders and another case would be registered if the weapon belongs to someone else.

South DIG formed a five-member team to probe the incident. The team, headed by South Zone Investigation SSP Tariq Razzaq Dharejo, includes South SSP Sheeraz Nazir, Clifton SP Suhai Aziz, Darakshan DSP Zahid Hussain, SHO Shahjahan Lashari and IO.  The team has been directed to take the services of any officer from the South Zone if needed and submit a weekly report till the case is completed.

Zaman has regained consciousness and the police have arrested him.

The motive

Speaking to The Express Tribune South Zone Investigation SSP Dharejo said that Abbas, Hayat and others had invested in a business along with Zaman.

Woman news anchor commits suicide in India

The accused owed the deceased money. Earlier, he would pay the deceased monthly profits but had not been doing so for some time. The matter pertained to more than Rs250 million invested by different people.

Zaman, who was in the business of importing tyres, owed the Abbas around Rs100m to Rs120m and had multiple meetings with the deceased in this regard in the past few days. On Tuesday, said Dharejo, he killed Abbas and Hayat following a well thought out plan.

Dharejo said that police has also recorded the statement of another friend of the deceased, Mudasir Iqbal, and is investigating the matter further in light of Iqbal's and arrested Zaman's statements.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2019.

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