Karachi police said on Tuesday that it has arrested four suspected street criminals on charges of killing a religious scholar during a robbery bid in the Gulistan-i-Jauhar area last month.

Unidentified assailants had shot dead Ziaur Rehman, the administrator of the Jamia Abi Bakar madressah in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, on Sep 12.

According to the police, the scholar had arrived at a park in Block-14 near the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) office for a routine walk when suspects opened fire at him. He suffered critical bullet injuries and was transported to the Jinnah Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

Karachi police chief Khadim Hussain Rind had later said in a statement that the Counter-Terrorism Department collected evidence and their preliminary investigations suggested that Indian intelligence agency RAW was involved in the killing.

Addressing a press conference today, District East DIG Azfar Mahesar said investigators had traced a network of street criminals involved in the scholar’s murder.

He elaborated that the cleric was waylaid by robbers near his residence in Block 14 of Gulistan-i-Jauhar, close to the FBR office. “During the robbery attempt, the cleric apprehended one of the suspects but his accomplices opened indiscriminate fire at Zia,” the official added.

“They used both a 30-bore pistol and a 9mm pistol,” the DIG said, adding that weapons confiscated from the suspects were forensically matched with bullet casings found at the crime scene.

Mahesar further stated that the investigation team led by him had conducted raids at 70 places for the arrest and more than 100 suspects were probed during the process. A federal-level sensitive institution and Counter-Terrorism Department officials were also part of the team.

The investigation revealed that a network of criminals, run by the held suspects, was “active” in the provincial capital, he added and promised that the police would take the mastermind of the network to task.

The DIG concluded that the arrested suspects had confessed to several street crimes as well.

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