Not the usual suspects: Family and police at odds over Dawoodi Bohra man’s killing

Akbar’s family insist that his death was only an unfortunate mishap.

Our Correspondent October 23, 2012


For 40-year-old toy shop owner Ali Akbar it was a normal weekend. Close the shop, go home, relax a bit and probably go out for dinner later.

But he had to attend a wedding function on Saturday. So he shut down his shop, went across the road to his apartment and got ready to leave for the wedding reception of a relative.

But fate had other plans for him.

In the Dawoodi Bohra-dominated Hyderi neighbourhood, Akbar and his wife had just left their home when he was shot dead only a few steps away from his residence. Some say the father of two was killed by bandits, some say by extortionists, for some he fell victim to sectarianism but the nature and motive of his murder have yet to be ascertained due to the differing accounts.

Last month, twin bombings took place in the same Hyderi area but Akbar’s family insist that his death was only an unfortunate mishap. He had not ever been threatened in his life, they said, nor was he enemies with anyone.

The only witness, Akbar’s wife, has told the family that her husband was not targeted. “[Akbar’s] wife said that she saw no one nearby fire a gun. It was just that Akbar suddenly fell and there was a bullet wound in his head. He died on the spot,” Hunaid, one of his closest friends, told The Express Tribune. “Apparently, he was killed by a stray bullet.”

According to a neighbouring shopkeeper, however, Akbar had been worried since Ramazan as extortionists were demanding money from him. A political party had even provided him its activists as security.

The family is concerned about the security of other community members and that is why it is unwilling to share the details, shopkeepers said. “The party had withdrawn its workers only a few days ago.”

The family has not registered a case which is why the police will not be able to properly investigate, said DSP Rasheed Khan. “Akbar left the shop, crossed the road, went upstairs to his flat, then came out again and left with his wife on a motorcycle,” he said. “He was definitely being followed.” The police have to figure out if he was killed for a sectarian motive or extortion or a personal enmity, DSP Khan added.

Hyderi and the surrounding markets were closed in protest over the killing. They called it a target killing and shopkeepers demanded arrests.

“I didn’t see it but I’ve heard that two young men were seen running away from the scene,” said a shopkeeper, Shaukat Ali. “Extortion threats are becoming common day by day in our market. It wasn’t like that before.”

Taha Akbar, a Dawoodi Bohra community elder, believes that no one is safe in Karachi. However, the police should properly investigate the case, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2012.


zohaq | 9 years ago | Reply

Murder is a crime against the state. It is up to the state Police to investigate and prosecute criminals and to protect citizens. Why should the family have to register a case for the police to take action? Makes no sense.

Lord | 9 years ago | Reply

Please show some guts they are after you and you are not even registering the case. Come on.

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