Thirty two-year-old Mushtaq Sheikh, who was arrested by the Anti-Violent Crime Cell (AVCC), denied the charge of being involved in the murder of Akbar Bugti’s son, Taleh. He was arrested by the cell on Monday from Gizri.
According to the press release issued by the cell on the day of the arrest, Sheikh with two others – Arif and Qamaruddin Baloch - had barged into the house of Asif Raajar, off Khayaban-e-Rahat on July 27 last year, and had opened fire at the people who were present at the party. Five people, including Taleh, had died and six others were injured in the gunbattle that ensued.
The Gizri police booked Sheikh for the murder and the AVCC said that they were trying to find Arif and Qamaruddin. Sheikh is adamant that he was not involved in any way. He has three children and according to him, is a welder by profession. “I swear by my children that I didn’t do anything,” he pleaded while he recited the Kalima at the AVCC office on Tuesday.
He said that Arif Raajar, the prime suspect in the case, had asked him to help with the security outside his house. “Firing started in the bungalow as soon as I got there,” he claimed. “I don’t know who began firing and why but like everyone else I ran from there as soon as it began.”
Sheikh also said that he didn’t know anyone in the party except Raajar and Waseem, who were his childhood friends. Raajar was Sheikh’s former neighbour and Waseem still lived near his house.
“I work on daily wages. Raajar had told me that if I come to his house then I will earn from Rs500 to Rs1,000,” said Sheikh. “So I went there to stand as security guard at the gate. Waseem met me near the bungalow and maybe this is why he took my name.” He added that he had never been to dance party in his life.
According to the chief of the crime cell, SP Ghulam Subhani, Sheikh had been arrested after a tip-off. “We were tailing him for quite some time but he always slipped away,” he said. “This time his luck failed him. But now our challenge is to arrest the absconders.”
“The thief never admits that he is a thief,” said Subhani. “He told us himself that everyone was drunk and a gun fight erupted over a girl. Now he is trying to prove he is innocent in front of the media.”
Waseem and Zahid Butt, Taleh’s cousin, were arrested by the police but others, including, the prime suspect Raajar, his friend, Dr M Iqbal, and Qamaruddin Baloch are still missing and the police continue to search for them.
Sindh University Murder
Besides the party clash, Sheikh is also being questioned for the murder of Prof. Saleem Kharal of Sindh University. He was also arrested earlier by Shahrah-e-Noor Jahan police for being involved in a robbery.
Subhani said that they were trying to find out if Sheikh was arrested in Prof. Kharal’s murder case but he was arrested red-handed during a robbery and served two years in jail. He added that Sheikh will be handed over to the Gizri police today.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2012.
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