KARACHI: Police claimed to have arrested on Wednesday a suspect wanted in the murder case of Misbah Athar, a fourth-year medical student of Hamdard University, who was shot dead during a robbery bid in Gulshan-e-Iqbal last week.
Addressing a press conference at his office, East district SSP Ghulam Azfar Mahesar identified the arrested suspect as Muhammad Nabi, a man of Afghan origin who was working as a garbage collector in Karachi.
“Till last year, Nabi worked as a garbage collector on the streets of Karachi, but later he started engaging in criminal activities such as stealing car batteries and other petty street crimes,” said the SSP. According to the Mahesar, the suspect confessed to being involved in street crimes in various areas of the city including Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Mobina Town, Sharae Faisal, Bahadurabad, Aziz Bhatti, Sacchal and SITE Superhighway areas.
The officer said Misbah’s stolen mobile phone was recovered from the suspect’s possession as was the motorcycle used in the incident. He added that efforts were afoot for the arrest of Nabi’s accomplice, a man identified as Qari Bashir.
According to the SSP, the suspects are affiliated with a gang of Afghani-origin men involved in criminal activities in Karachi.
He said members of the gang have previously been found involved in several street crime cases, including armed robberies and burglaries at shopping centres and cafes.
A five-member police team comprising Mahesar, Investigations SP Irfan Zaman, Gulshan-e-Iqbal SHO and SIO led the investigation. They interrogated more than six eyewitnesses and over a dozen suspects after acquiring footage from CCTV cameras in the surroundings and geo-fencing the site where the crime occurred.
Misbah, 24, was shot dead on October 3 as she waited with her father, Athar Noor, for her university shuttle in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.
A resident of Abid Town in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, she was a high-performing fourth-year student of Eastern Medicine and Surgery at Hamdard University.
Target killer arrested
Mahaser announced a second arrest during the press conference. According to the SSP, the anti-street crime squad of East district and Soldier Bazaar Police arrested a worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London (MQM-L) for his alleged involvement in around 111 cases of targeted killings in Karachi. The arrest took place on Nishtar Road.
Police claim that the apprehended suspect, identified as Abdus Salam Irfan, is an employee at Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and is wanted in around 57 cases. Irfan was allegedly involved in targeted killings of two army personnel, one navy personnel, eight police officials, two government officials, four workers of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), 14 workers of the Muhajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi, 11 ethnically motivated murders of Punjabi and Pashtun individuals and a doctor, among others. Irfan also allegedly murdered five women after raping them, added Mahaser.
“He [Irfan] began targeted killings in Karachi in 1994 with the murders of rival political party workers,” said Mahesar, referring to the murders of the workers of MQM-H. “He and his accomplices also killed 57 persons whom they suspected to be informants, and seven others who refused to pay extortion money,” added the SSP.
Besides, the suspect is accused of being involved in the May 12 carnage. Irfan, and his accomplices, Nadeem Marble, Khalid Siddiqui, Nehal, Zubair Burger, and others, allegedly reached Guru Mandir area of Jamshed Quarters where they opened fire at the building of a private news channel and opened indiscriminate fire while heading towards Numaish Chowrangi. Three people were killed in the incident.
According to Mahesar, Irfan was arrested for the first time in 1998 by Orangi Town Police. He was released on parole in 2004 and he then went into hiding, said the SSP. Irfan was arrested again in 2014 by Gulberg Police after an exchange of fire but he went into hiding again after he was released on bail. The suspect had also been injured in an encounter with the Rangers but had managed to flee at the time, said the SSP.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2019.