KARACHI: An undertrial prisoner allegedly involved in kidnapping of two young girls for ransom in Defence Housing Authority in 2019 escaped from a shopping mall on Tariq Road following his court appearance, prompting Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to order suspension of the SSP of Court police.

UTP Zohaib Ali Qureshi, said to be the prime accused in the kidnapping of Dua Mangi and Bisma in 2019, was brought to the City Courts in connection with the hearing of his case on Thursday. The court adjourned the hearing till Feb 9.

Two court police official, Head Constable Naveed and Habib Zafar, were escorting him back to Karachi central prison when he asked Naveed to take him to Tariq Road for shopping.

Ferozabad SHO Arshad Janjua said that Naveed asked Zafar to take other UTPs to prison and wait for him. He in his private car brought the UTP to Dolmen Mall, Tariq Road. The accused went inside the mall alone from where he did not return and fled, he added.

Murad orders suspension of SSP-court police; two policemen held, remanded

In the CCTV footage that went viral on social media, Qureshi was seen roaming around the mall’s exit for a few seconds before leaving with shopping bags in hand.

SSP-East Qamar Raza Jiskani said the accused escaped from the custody of the court police and the Ferozabad police arrested both Naveed and Zafar and registered a case under Sections 223 (escape from confinement or custody negligently suffered by public servant), 224 (Resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) and 225-A (Omission to apprehend, or sufferance of escape, on part of public servant, in cases not otherwise provided for) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

A police team went raided the residence of escaped UTP in Steel Town, but returned empty-handed.

SHO Janjua said during initial investigations Naveed told police he had developed a ‘relation of trust’ with accused Qureshi and he thought would never ‘betray’ him.

However, the SHO said the investigators were also probing other aspects behind the escape.

CM Shah took notice of the incident and directed the inspector general of police and home secretary to take a strict action.

He also ordered immediate suspension of SSP-court police Azam Durrani and asked the police to immediately arrest Qureshi.

Policemen remanded

Meanwhile, a judicial magistrate on Friday remanded in police custody the two held policemen in the case pertaining to the escape of the UTP.

The investigating officer (IO) produced both the policemen before the judicial magistrate (South) and requested for their 14-day physical remand for interrogation and investigation.

But the magistrate remanded them in police custody for three days, directing the IO to produce them on Monday along with an investigation report.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2022

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