KARACHI: Zainab tried a new ingredient for Qorma yesterday - her husband.
It was the olfactory insult that brought the police to her door. The landlord, Behzad, who lived on the ground floor of their two-storey Green Town house, was so perturbed by the cooking that he went upstairs to inquire. The scene that met his eyes have left him scarred for life.
The 40-year-old Zainab was cooking Qorma with flesh chopped from her husband’s arm and leg as she figured this was the only way to practically dispose of the body.
For three months, Zainab has been living here with her 17-year-old daughter Sonia from an ex-husband, and her new husband Ahmed Abbas, whom she had married five years ago. At around 9:30am, she prepared a routine breakfast for Abbas but the only difference was the inclusion of five sedatives in his cup of tea. The drugs took effect within half an hour and Abbas was sedated. Zainab brought a rope and strangled him to death.
“When he finally died, I felt shudders of fear for the first time,” said Zainab while talking to The Express Tribune from inside her lock-up at Shah Faisal police station. “I didn’t have the courage to approach his body for the next half an hour.”
However, her mind was working fast to figure out how to get rid of the body. “It occurred to me that if I cooked the body in parts with spices and aromatic ingredients that would curb the stench,” she revealed, adding that, “Later I had a plan to do away with the cooked stuff by throwing it in a gutter. I would say to people that it had spoiled.”
As soon as her landlord had called the police, ASI Gul Muhammad reached the scene, said SHO Khalid Nadeem Baig.
Zainab says that she murdered her husband after he had tried to molest her daughter. She claims she had stopped him from doing so on several occasions in the past. However, she later contradicted herself by saying, “He never laid a hand on her but he used to say dirty things whenever he came home drunk.”
She had saved the rest of the body in a three-foot white aluminum trunk which was later transferred by the police to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre for a postmortem.
Along with Zainab, the police had also detained her nephew Zaheer Allah Ditta from the house. Allah Ditta claimed no involvement in the crime and asserted that he arrived at the house after a span of eight years.
Zainab had married Abbas, who used to teach Sonia when she was in school, by going against her family. Her first husband died 12 years ago. “After she married Abbas, we had no contact with her and we banished her from our community,” said Sardar Muhamamd, one of her maternal relatives.
The police are looking for her daughter. “Sonia’s statement and her medical examination are very important from a legal point of view,” said the investigation officer, Shehzad Ejaz Alamgeer.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2011.
Update: An earlier version of this post contained a photo of the cooking pot containing the remains of the victim. That photo has been removed after reader feedback and a second review by the editorial staff.
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