Karachi AIG Ghulam Nabi Memon has constituted a committee to probe into the claim of a deadly snake being found in opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh's cell at the Special Investigation Unit's (SIU's) Saddar centre, where he was detained following his arrest over charges of interfering in the election process in Malir's PS-88.
The committee is headed by Crime Investigation Agency investigation DIG Arif Hanif and includes Korangi SSP Faisal Abdullah Chachar and City SSP Sarfaraz Nawaz as members.
As part of the initial investigation, the committee has visited and inspected the cell where Haleem was kept and its surroundings.
The Karachi police chief had earlier said he had sought a report on the matter from DIG Hanif, after Haleem, who is also the vice-president of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in Sindh, claimed on Friday that a four feet-long black cobra was left in his cell in a deliberate attempt to kill him.
"This was done on the directives of Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah," he had alleged, adding that the snake was seen and photographed by policemen as well.
Meanwhile, sources in the police maintain that such incidents are common at the SIU centre in Saddar.
The sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that Haleem had informed them about the presence of a snake in his lock-up at around 7.30 am on Friday.
They claimed, however, that Haleem did not see the snake inside the lock-up, but in the balcony while he was going to the washroom.
There is no window or hole in the room where Haleem was kept, they said, ruling out the possibility of the reptile finding an opening to enter the cell.
They further stated that an employee of Haleem's had brought him food and other essential items on Thursday night as the PT leader had refused to consume the food provided by the police.
Reportedly, a chemical examination of the corpse of the snake, purportedly killed by Haleem, will be performed.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2021.