MUZAFFARGARH: Hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of eight family members who were killed on Thursday in Mudwala, Alipur tehsil of Muzaffargarh.

Since the incident, a large crowd has been present outside the crime scene, the residence of suspect Sajjad Hussain, a tailor who is paralysed from one leg. He allegedly used a hammer to end the lives of his wife and seven children. Although he initially fled, Sajjad was arrested within hours by the Saddar police.

Forensic teams collected evidence to ascertain the details of the incident. Initially, the police shifted the bodies to the Alipur Tehsil Headquarters Hospital.

The deceased include Kausar Mai (wife of Sajjad), aged 40; Ansa Bibi (daughter), aged 8; Kinza Mai (daughter), aged 7; Rimsha Mai (daughter), aged 6; Mehnaz Mai (daughter), aged 4; Muhammad Anas (son), aged 3; Muhammad Subhan (son), aged 2; and Munaza Mai (daughter), aged six months.

Police preliminary investigations suggest that the suspect had been struggling with mental health issues for some time. A case was registered against him under criminal sections.

Station House Officer Asmat Abbas confirmed the suspect’s arrest, saying the police were the complainant in the case. He stated that Sajjad had used a hammer in the crime, resulting in the immediate death of all eight victims.

Sources said Sajjad was facing financial difficulties and mental health challenges.

District Police Officer Syed Hasnain Haider visited the crime scene and instructed forensic science agencies to investigate the incident thoroughly.

Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif took notice of the incident, expressing deep sorrow over the loss of seven children and their mother and seeking a report from the inspector general of police.

The preliminary investigation points to a domestic dispute as the motive for the murders.

The DPO said the suspect was mentally sound. He assured that justice would be served. The additional IG South Punjab ordered a report from the regional police officer within a day.

Police recovered the hammer used in the crime from the suspect, who is under investigation pending further reports.

Deputy Commissioner Mian Usman Ali instructed Tehsildar Iqbal Abbasi and his revenue team, under the supervision of the assistant commissioner, to ensure the dignified burial of the deceased. The funeral prayers were held on Friday at 8am, attended by district administration officials, members of civil society, lawyers, and thousands of people.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2024

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