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KARACHI: All five cases relating to recent knife attacks on women in the city were declared on Tuesday ‘A-Class’ — or closed — for want of evidence and the so-called ‘facilitator’ of the suspected attacker was ordered to be released as the city police failed to make any headway in the matter.

The police, which had earlier claimed to have arrested a ‘facilitator’, Shehzad, in Karachi submitted a report in an antiterrorism court admitting that they did not find any evidence against the suspect and requested the court to order his release.

The ATC accepted the police report declaring the five cases ‘A-Class’ or closed and ordered Shehzad’s release.

The police admitted in the report that no evidence involving suspect Shehzad could be found in the course of investigation.

As fear gripped residents of Gulistan-i-Jauhar and adjoining localities in the wake of serial knife attacks on women over the past few months, city police chief Additional Inspector General Mushtaq Maher had claimed that 16 suspects, including “key suspect” Shehzad, had been arrested in this connection.

On Oct 14, the police told the administrative judge of the antiterrorism courts that Shehzad, who was an alleged accomplice of the “prime suspect”, Waseem, had 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.

However, later it transpired in the investigation that Waseem never visited Karachi and the investigation into the case came to a dead end.

Police had also quoted Shahzad in the report saying that Waseem was suffering from some psychological disorder and he enjoyed the news of his attacks when it was aired by TV channels.

Initially, three First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered — two at the Sharea Faisal police station and one at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station — on the complaint of three women who said that they had been attacked by a lone “knife-wielding” motorcyclist.

A report of the incidents was also submitted before Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah who had taken notice of the attacks.

The CM had announced a reward of Rs500,000 for any person who could point out the attacker.

One woman was stabbed near Millennium Mall in the Gulistan-i-Jauhar area; the second was attacked at Aziz Bhatti Park in Gulshan-i-Iqbal; third woman was attacked in Gulshan-i-Jamal; while the fourth incident was reported in Gulshan-i-Iqbal, where a 13-year-old girl was stabbed, sustaining minor stab wound on her back.

Taking notice of media reports of knife attacks on five women, Sindh’s Inspector General of Police A.D. Khowaja had ordered Deputy Inspector General (East) Sultan Ali Khowaja to conduct a detailed inquiry into the matter and submit a report.

The provincial police chief had also directed the police to launch an effective and coordinated investigation to arrest the culprits involved.

Later, DIG Khowaja told the media that the Sahiwal police had arrested the prime suspect in the recent knife attacks on women that took place in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2017