Chunian case suspect averted arrest twice

Updated October 03, 2019

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Suspect Sohail Shahzad being brought into the court by police with a black hood over his head on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV/File
Suspect Sohail Shahzad being brought into the court by police with a black hood over his head on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV/File

KASUR: Alleged serial killer Sohail Shahzad slipped twice from the hands of police before being eventually arrested in Chunian on Tuesday, it is learnt.

Sources told Dawn that police first arrested 27-year-old Shahzad on Sept 22 and released him after “he gave satisfactory answers during the course of investigation in the Chunian case”.

Police, they said, let Shahzad go without having his DNA test. Later, on Sept 29, police expressed suspicion about Shahzad when he was going to Lahore.

“Shahzad had suddenly left a naan shop in Chunian and started working in Lahore after one of the children, Faizan, went missing.

Later, police arrested Shahzad from his house on Tuesday when the Punjab Forensic Science Authority (PFSA) reported that the DNA of Shahzad had matched with that of Faizan.

He has been remanded in 15-day police custody; pleads he be spared police torture

Shahzad is the eldest of four brothers and three sisters. His father Muhammad Aslam is a labourer and the family lives in a rented house.

Locals told Dawn that Shahzad tried to deceive police by helping them trace the suspect. In 2011, he was booked in a sodomy case and handed down five-year imprisonment by a local court. Later, he allegedly pressured the victim family to reconcile and was eventually released from jail after one and-a-half years.

Meanwhile, delegations of civil society, traders, lawyers and social workers met District Police Officer Zahid Nawaz Marwat and lauded the arrest of the perpetrator.

Mr Marwat was appointed in Kasur in 2018 to track down the perpetrator in Zainab rape-cum-murder case and he is credited with accomplishing the task.

The Kasur police on Wednesday launched a campaign ‘Unsung heroes of police’ on social media. They shared pictures of the policemen who worked incognito and managed to arrest the suspect.

Remand: An anti-terrorism court on Wednesday remanded the 27-year-old suspected rapist-cum-killer of four minor boys in 15-day police custody.

Police produced the suspect in court amid tight security after they brought him in an armoured personnel vehicle.

At the outset of the hearing, presiding judge Abdul Qayyum Khan asked police why the suspect was made to wear hood. The investigating officer said it was for security reasons but he uncovered the suspect’s face on the direction of the judge.

“What is your name? Do you want to say something?” the judge asked the suspect.

“My name is Sohail Shahzad. Please instruct police not to torture me in custody,” replied the suspect.

Deputy Prosecutor General Abdul Rauf Wattoo requested the court to allow 30-day physical remand of the suspect for investigation. He told the court that the suspect had been arrested after his DNA sample matched with that of Faizan, one of the slain children.

He said the DNA samples of 1,668 people had been taken and sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency. He said a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) headed by the Sheikhpura regional police officer investigated the case.

After hearing the prosecutor, the court allowed 15-day remand of the suspect to police and directed that he be produced again on Oct 16.

Police arrested the suspect on Tuesday and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar held a press conference to announce it. Shahzad has been charged with kidnapping, raping and killing Imran, Salman, Ali Hasnain and Faizan. Three of them were residents of Chunian’s Ghosia Colony and one of Rana Town. The bodies were recovered from sand dunes in and around the Chunian Industrial Area.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2019