NAUSHAHRO FEROZE/KARACHI: Sindh Assembly member Shahnaz Ansari, who belonged to the Pakistan Peoples Party, was shot dead on Saturday allegedly by the family of her late brother-in-law in a village in Naushahro Feroze district, officials and sources said.

A senior officer of Naushahro Feroze police, SSP Mohammed Farooq, said the legislator was gunned down over some family dispute.

According to the sources, Ms Ansari had informed the local authorities about a month ago that her late brother-in-law Dr Zahid Khokhar’s family was threatening her of dire consequences because she was resisting their efforts to forcibly occupy the agriculture land meant for her widowed sister and her children.

Police said the slain lawmaker had gone to her late brother-in-law’s village, Murad Khokhar, along with a sister to attend his Chehlum, where a heated argument broke out and she was fired upon by a relative of her brother-in-law. They said her widowed sister had a property dispute with the family of her late husband.

Ms Ansari sustained bullet injuries in her abdomen and was transported to the Peoples Medical University Hospital, Nawabshah, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police believe Shahnaz Ansari murdered over land dispute

According to the sources, she had written a letter to the commissioner, deputy commissioner and the SSP concerned (whose copy had been forwarded to the speaker of Sindh Assembly), saying that Akhtar Ali Khokhar, his brothers and his son, Akhtiar Khokhar, were harassing her widowed sister and her.

The letter, seen by Dawn on Saturday, said Dr Zahid Hussain Khokhar, husband of the MPA’s sister passed away on January 5, 2020 due to some natural causes at his home.

The late Dr Khokhar had reportedly transferred all his properties to his widow and their children in his life.

“Now, Akhtar Ali Khokhar, his brothers and his son, Akhtiar Khokhar are threatening and harassing me and my widow sister that they will murder us and children of late Dr Zahid Hussain Khokhar,” says the letter.

The woman MPA had urged the authorities concerned that this statement of hers may be kept in their office record and necessary legal action may be taken against the said persons “to save our lives.”

Chairman Sindh Public Accounts Committee MPA Ghulam Qadir Chandio and a large number of PPP workers reached PMUH after the news of the tragedy broke.

The late MPA was an active PPP member and was elected on a reserved seat.

She leaves behind a husband, two sons and three daughters.

Meanwhile, IGP Sindh Dr Syed Kaleem Imam took notice of the lawmaker’s murder and directed the police for immediate arrest of the alleged killer, a police spokesperson said.

Mr Imam also asked the SSP Naushahro Feroze to personally look into all aspects of the investigation and no leniency be shown to the culprits.

The IG said that the lawmaker was killed over land dispute at a time when she was present at Chehlum of her relative, said the police statement.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has also strongly condemned the murder of Shahnaz Ansari and expressed deep grief and sorrow over the incident.

In a statement, the PPP chairman said that Shahnaz Ansari was a committed party worker whose killing should be investigated properly and culprits punished.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari expressed solidarity with the members of the bereaved family and prayed for the departed soul.

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2020