Gruesome crime: Police agree Taliban may have been involved in shrine killings

Published: January 9, 2014
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Police officials walk past the shrine where bodies of six men, with their throats slit were discovered on Tuesday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS

Police officials walk past the shrine where bodies of six men, with their throats slit were discovered on Tuesday. PHOTO: MOHAMMAD SAQIB/EXPRESS

KARACHI: Four of the victims, whose decapitated bodies were found from a shrine in Gulshan-e-Maymar, were laid to rest on Wednesday. Meanwhile law enforcers have arrested around half-a-dozen suspects.

The bodies of six decapitated men were found in a mud-house close to Ayub Shah Shrine, which is located on a hillock in a deserted area on the north-eastern outskirts of the city, on Tuesday morning. Three of the victims were identified as custodians of the shrine. Two others were visitors, while the identity of the sixth victim has yet to be ascertained.

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The funeral prayers for the four victims, Abid Ali, 50, Abdul Wajid, 31, Saleem Ahmed, 30, and Ramzan Ahmed, 23, were offered separately in Rozi Goth, New Karachi and Surjani on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the funeral prayers for the remaining two have yet to be offered.

Law enforcers have yet to ascertain the motive behind the incident. The victims’ families insist that they had no enmity with anyone and had never complained about any threats.

One of the victims, Abid Ali, was a resident of Rozi Goth in Surjani Town. He was a labourer by profession and has left behind two daughters and a son. “He was obsessed with Sufism and the shrine and had been visiting it regularly since the last 10 years,” Abid’s son-in-law, Asif, told The Express Tribune. Abid’s family said that he was a cancer patient. “He believed that his faith in Sufism would help cure his ailment,” Asif explained.

Another victim, Saleem Ahmed, was a painter by profession. He was unmarried and was the sixth among eleven siblings. “A day before the incident, he left home saying that he would return after three to four days as he had to paint the shrine,” said the victim’s elder brother, Zaheer Ahmed. “We do not know who and why they killed him,” he said among sobs.

The shrine is currently closed for visitors. Residents of Ahsanabad, which is situated close to the shrine, told that The Express Tribune that very few people ever visited the shrine. “It is possible that Taliban killed them because everyone avoids going to that area because of the fear of Taliban.”

Meanwhile, police have recorded the statements of the victims’ families and arrested around half-a-dozen suspects, including the custodian of the shrine, Jumman Shah Faqir. “We did not find anything to suggest their involvement in the incident,” DSP Shaukat Shahani told The Express Tribune.

For now, the police investigators are relying on the information provided by the slip of paper found in one of the victims’ mouths. The paper stated a declaration by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Fazalullah group, claiming responsibility for the incident. The police are also waiting for the forensic report of the dagger which the assailants had left behind. Police believe it is the same dagger that was used to slaughter the victims.

An FIR No. 2/14, under Sections 302/34 and 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, was registered at Gulshan-e-Maymar police station against unidentified persons on behalf of the state.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2014. 

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