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KARACHI: The administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts remanded on Friday an alleged accomplice of the ‘knifeman’ in police custody till Oct 18.

Police produced M. Shahzad before the judge stating that he was a close aide of suspected knifeman M. Waseem, who has been targeting women in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and Gulshan-i-Iqbal.

The investigating officer stated in the remand papers that the suspect was a friend of the alleged attacker and both belonged to the same village in Sahiwal.

He added that the suspect was arrested on Thursday and a knife was found in his custody.

The IO further submitted that the held suspect disclosed during initial questioning that he provided cover to Waseem, who came to Karachi around a month ago, during knife attacks and also carried out reconnaissance.

The police said he further revealed that the alleged attacker was suffering from some psychological disorder and he enjoyed the news of his attacks when it was aired by TV channels.

He had also targeted many women in Sahiwal in 2015. However, after his arrest he was released on bail, they added.

While showing Waseem as absconder, the IO sought the custody of the held suspect for questioning in a case registered at the Sharea Faisal police station for stabbing an 18-year-old girl in Gulshan-i-Jamal on October 5.

The administrative judge handed the suspect to police on six-day remand and directed the IO to produce him again with a progress report on Oct 18.

A case was registered under Sections 324 (attempted murder), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 337(F) (punishment for causing hurt) and 109 (abutment) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

A few days ago, police had submitted copies of six FIRs, lodged at the Sharea Faisal police station regarding knife attacks on women, before an area magistrate.

However, a prosecutor directed the police to incorporate Section 7 of the ATA in the cases since the serial knife attacks created a sense of insecurity and terror among people.

False alarm in North Nazimabad

A minor hit-and-run accident involving a motorcyclist and a passer-by in North Nazimabad caused panic as the woman mistakenly considered the incident as an attack by the ‘knifeman’, officials said.

Hyderi Market police SHO Zulfiqar Haider said that the woman, a domestic worker, was passing through North Nazimabad’s Al Fatah Park when a motorcyclist hit her and rode away. As a result, she fell down and suffered a minor injury.

SSP Central Irfan Baloch told Dawn that the woman thought she was attacked by the same knifeman who had been targeting women in Gulistan-i-Jauhar.

As media highlighted the incident, senior police officers rushed to the spot and met the victim, who was brought to a private hospital for treatment.

The SSP said that doctors at the health facility said that the woman suffered a small wound and there was no “evidence of knife trauma”.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2017