By Hamid Asghar
GUJAR KHAN, Sept 15: Investigations into the murder of a British national of Pakistani origin took a new turn with the confessional statement given by an accused to the Dhadial police in Azad Kashmir.
Mohammad Ashiq was killed during a robbery at his house on June 16, 2009 while he was asleep in the house along with his nephew Zahid Ashiq, (son of his sister) in his native village Muni Dheri (Mandhaal), some 35km from here.
The local police had arrested Zahid Ashiq and his brother Asif Iqbal and sent them to jail.
The police had maintained that Mohammad Ashiq was poisoned to death by his nephews. However, the chemical analysis report declared the allegation negative.
Meanwhile, the daughter of the deceased, Waheeda Ashiq, who was then working with The Guardian, London, and her two brothers had clarified to the police that their father was not killed by Zahid and Asif but the then SHO Malik Irshad remained unmoved.
After a lapse of one year and dissatisfied with the local police investigations, the heirs of the victim approached Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and succeeded in getting the case transferred to the regional investigation board (RIB).
Superintendent of Police Mohammad Pervez Iqbal Bandial, the in-charge of RIB, and Inspector Mirza Zaman Raza, were assigned the investigation of the case.
According to Inspector Raza; Zahoor Ahmed, another close relative of the victim, was being observed due to his criminal records. He was arrested by the Dhadial police in AJK on the charge of a highway robbery-cum-murder case some time back.
During investigation, the accused revealed that his Pakistani born sister Zakia was married to his cousin Waseem, son of Mohammad Ashiq, some years back. But the marriage did not last and Zakia was divorced and sent back to Pakistan by her in-laws. The wife of Mohammad Ashiq is Zakia’s aunt.
To avenge the disgrace done to his sister, Zahoor Ahmed planned a robbery and to kidnap Mohammed Ashiq for ransom with the help of his brother Ansar Shehzad and his classmates from a Madressah. During the robbery and kidnapping attempt, Mohammad Ashiq was tied with ropes and tortured to death. The accused escaped with cash, cellphone and a rifle.
According to Inspector Raza, efforts are underway to arrest Ansar and his classmates who were based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The police said their names were being kept secret.