ISLAMABAD: Akhlaq Ahmed alias Roosi was hanged and buried in Pakistan on December 21, against the wishes of Moscow, for a murderous attack on former president Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2003.
But his body “disappeared for two days” to end up in Russia on December 26.
Red-faced Pakistani authorities suspended two Islamabad police officers after a hasty inquiry into the melodrama.
Mother of ‘Roosi’, who was sentenced to death for involvement in attack on Musharraf, had his body exhumed
Local police had no immediate comment to offer on record. But Inspector General Tahir Alam Khan emailed Dawn that “Temuri (his deputy) will brief you in this regard.”
However, a Russian embassy’s press release of December 22, and multiple official sources in the Ministry of Interior and the Islamabad administration and police, revealed a tale of human emotions at play.
In its press statement, the Russian embassy regretted that Islamabad not only “did not respond” to its appeals to commute the death sentence of “Russian citizen Akhlak, who also had a Pakistani citizenship” but also did not inform it about the decision to carry out the death sentence.
Akhlaq was once district health officer in Rawlakot, Azad Kashmir.
His Pakistani father, Akhlas, collected the body after the execution in Faisalabad on December 21 and buried it in his native town Hajeera the same day.
His Russian mother arrived in Islamabad to take her son’s body with the help of the Russian embassy, according to the official sources.
“After getting no response, she and Russian diplomats proceeded to Hajeera. In two days, they managed to get the body exhumed and returned to Islamabad with it late on December 23,” the officials said.
When they appeared at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) to put the body in its mortuary, “some intelligence sleuths alerted the police and the administration and directives came to confiscate it,” they said.
The police and capital administration officials rushed to the hospital and found the diplomats arguing over the hospital’s refusal to keep the body in the mortuary for want of a death certificate and other documents.
“Senior officers of the police and concerned authorities were contacted who advised to take the body to a private hospital and keep it there until further orders,” the sources said.
However, the reluctant Russian diplomats said they were taking the body to the kidney centre in Rawalpindi.
The body was put in an ambulance with the mother and some Russian diplomats accompanying it.
But, according to the sources, the ambulance suddenly changed directions and instead of going to Rawalpindi headed for the diplomatic enclave at a very high speed.
The police gave it a chase but had to stop when it entered the Russian embassy.
All “concerned high-ups” were informed who ordered the elite police to surround the Russian embassy, which they did.
But they were recalled after Moscow conveyed to Islamabad that the body would not be handed over and demanded that the police cordon should be lifted immediately, added the sources.
However, after two days of hectic talks, the embassy handed the body to the local authorities on the assurances that it would be returned and flown to Russia.
That is how the story ended on December 26, but for the Russians only.
A local intelligence agency complained to the interior minister about “the disappearance and snatching” of the body from Pims, the sources said.
An order went out from the minister to the chief commissioner of Islamabad to hold an inquiry and fix responsibility. Acting additional district magistrate Noman Yousuf and SP investigation Mohammad Bilal were asked to probe the incident who found SHO Margalla Mohammad Baqar and duty officer Jabbar guilty.
They recommended departmental action against the officials.
According to the sources, besides the police, an assistant commissioner and a magistrate also failed to keep the custody of the body and prevent the diplomats from taking it away.
They also did not alert senior officers and the patrolling staff and pickets to intercept the ambulance.
But the sources noted that it was late night and majority of the senior officers were asleep or not available.
“So the SHO became the senior officer at that hour but failed to take a proper decision,” they said.
Chief Commissioner Zulfiqar Haider was not available for comments. SP city Rizwan Gondal expressed ignorance about the whole affair that happened in his jurisdiction.
He suggested Dawn approach SP Ilyas in whose jurisdiction lies Pims.
“I have nothing to do with it. I was neither asked nor consulted,” replied SP Ilyas.
When Dmitry Vasilliev, third secretary at the Russian embassy, was contacted for comments on the matter, he said, “I cannot comment over the issue.”
Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2015