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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has conveyed to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that the mysterious death of Group Captain Rizwan Attique was suicide.

In response to a petition filed by Attique’s widow, Tanzeela Khan, PAF’s director legal service Sohail Ahmed stated that the woman’s husband had committed suicide as he feared the consequences of an inquiry into his alleged corruption.

Giving a detailed background of the events before the death of the officer, the written reply stated: “During his service, the petitioner’s husband became involved in embezzlement, misappropriation, malpractices and collusion with various civilian contractors against service interest. Consequently, a Board of Inquiry was ordered at the Air Headquarters, Islamabad, on July 5, 2017 to probe into his alleged illegal activities.

Written reply alleges that widow’s petition is aimed at maligning the force

“The deceased officer was provided VIP room at Officers Mess, Islamabad, to face the Board of Inquiry proceedings; the deceased officer was not taken into Air Force custody. However, he was asked to remain present on the premises of Officers Mess, Islamabad, during the Board of Inquiry proceedings.”

The reply further states: “The deceased officer committed suicide as a remorse for his involvement in misappropriation and as a fear for loss of image in society, which he had built for last many years.”

It said: “Group Captain Rizwan committed suicide. On July 10, 2017 he was found hanging from a window grille using bedsheet in his room at the Officers Mess, Islamabad.

“He was immediately shifted to PAF Hospital where he was declared as ‘brought dead’. Later, his body was shifted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) for autopsy.”

The reply claimed that Pims confirmed that the officer had committed a suicide. The reply alleged that the petitioner filed the petition only to malign the PAF.

Ms Khan was seeking transparent and impartial inquiry into the death of her husband.

The petition also attached the copy of a medical report of Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory, Lahore, according to which the officer had eight injury marks on his body.

All injuries were sufficient to cause death in ordinary course of life.

The petition cited secretary defence, chief of air staff, deputy chief of air staff and Air Intelligence director general as respondents.

The petitioner requested the IHC to form a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate how her husband, Group Captain Rizwan Attique, died in August last year.

As per media reports, the group captain was found hanging from a window grille of a room under mysterious circumstances.

The reports had expressed a possibility that the officer might have committed suicide.

However, the petition on the other hand alleged that her husband died under the custody of an intelligence agency.

She requested the IHC to issue direction for registration of an FIR and constitute a JIT, comprising officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Islamabad police and Intelligence Bureau (IB), to ascertain the causes and circumstances that led to his death.

The petitioner further requested the court to direct the deputy chief of air staff to provide personal belongings of the deceased officer to his legal heirs including personal files, cheque books and other documents.

IHC Justice Aamir Farooq asked the police why they did not register FIR in this matter even when it has been reported.

The court then summoned the police officer concerned on April 11.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2018