GUJRAT: It was her father who strangled Sana Cheema, a 27-year-old Italian woman of Pakistani origin, to death with a piece of cloth, whereas her brother overpowered her on the upper floor of their house on April 18, the suspects confessed, according to police.

A police official privy to the investigation into the case told Dawn on Thursday that Sana’s brother Adnan Cheema was distressed and regretted his act of helping his father in his sister’s murder.

However, the father, Ghulam Mustafa Cheema, had denied the police claim of his confession during his brief interaction with the media after the district police officer’s news conference on Wednesday last.

The suspects were handed over to Kunjah police on two-day physical remand by a local court on Thursday after autopsy and forensic reports confirmed Sana was asphyxiated.

The police produced the suspects in the court of area magistrate Lubna Sagheer and sought the physical remand for investigation purpose. Accepting the police’s request, the court allowed two-day physical remand of the suspects who would again be produced in the court on May 12 (Saturday).

A case had already been lodged with the police under section 302 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) against three suspects, including a paternal uncle of Sana, Mazhar Iqbal Cheema, on the report of Sub Inspector Waqar Gujjar of Kunjah police.

After the confession of the father and brother of the deceased, the police released her uncle Mazhar.

The report issued by the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) revealed the victim’s voice box was swollen and the right cornua of her hyoid bone (in the neck) had been dislocated.

The forensic report did not mention any signs of poisoning or drugging the deceased.

The police said section 311 of the PPC (punishment after waiver or compounding of right of qisas in qatl-i-amd) had now been added to the case and investigation report would soon be submitted in the trial court.

An Italian newspaper, Giornale di Brescia, had first reported that Ms Cheema was killed for “honour”.

The victim’s friends claimed Sana wanted to marry someone in Italy, against her family’s wishes. The news reports had said Sana’s parents had been forcing her to marry someone in the family in the days leading up to her murder.

According to Italian media, Sana wanted to marry a man from Brescia who, like her, was a second-generation immigrant with Italian citizenship.

Sana had arrived in Pakistan in January this year.

FOUND DEAD: A 27-year-old young doctor of Aziz Bhatti Shaheed Teaching Hospital (ABSTH) was found dead in his room in the hospital hostel on Thursday.

The deceased was identified as Khawaja Shoaib, hailing from Muzaffargarh. He had completed his education at the Nawaz Sharif Medical College (NSMC) and did his house job at the ABSTH.

He joined the same hospital last year as a medical officer and since then he had been living in its hostel where he was found dead.

City Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Hafiz Imtiaz told Dawn that during the initial probe, the police had reached the conclusion that Shoaib might have died of natural causes as there was no sign of an unnatural death. He said the body had been handed over to the family of the deceased who did not want to have an autopsy.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2018