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Omar Asghar found dead

June 26, 2002

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KARACHI, June 25: Former federal minister Omar Asghar Khan died in mysterious circumstances on Tuesday as his body was found hanging from the ceiling fan at the residence of his in-laws in Defence Housing Authority. He was 48.

Police claimed that Omar Asghar had committed suicide but initial report of the postmortem examination and the circumstantial evidence suggested otherwise.

The family members of Omar Asghar Khan avoided talking to the press. He had been staying at the house of his brother-in-law.

Sources close to the family said when Omar Asghar Khan did not turn up in the morning, the family knocked at the door of his room. After receiving no response, the family members peeped through the only window in the room and found him hanging. They broke open the door, untied the body and informed the police.

The high officials of police, including IG Syed Kamal Shah and city police chief Asad Jehangir, reached the place and called the medico-legal officers to carry out the postmortem at the house.

Sources in the police said the height of Omar Asghar was 5ft and 10 inches, while the height of the ceiling was 10ft. The body was hanging from a blade of the ceiling fan, with one foot resting on a chair and the other leg dangling in the air. He used the bedsheet to hang himself, the police sources added.

The hospital sources said there were no injury marks on the body. Both the trachea (windpipe) and hyoid bone were found intact. There were traces that semen was discharged — a normal thing in suicide-by-hanging cases.

There was this possibility that the deceased was first given sedatives and, upon his going unconscious, was hanged. However, the sources said, the situation would be clear after the receipt of chemical examination report.

“There is no trace of any foul play”, the DIG Investigation, Fayyaz Leghari, told Dawn. He said the fingerprints had been taken and all the other evidence had been collected for investigation.

In the afternoon, an elderly man, claiming to be a relative of Omar Asghar Khan, read out a statement to the reporters gathered outside the residence at Gizri Lane 5, DHA, as they were not allowed to enter the house by the police.

The statement said: “Omar Asghar Khan arrived in the city on Sunday night, and was staying with his relatives. He had routine appointments on Tuesday morning, but when he did not turn up from his room for a considerable time, the door was broken and his body was found hanging. The deceased left behind a note for his family.”

The burial of Omar Asghar Khan will be held in Abbottabad on Wednesday, he added.

As the news of Omar Asghar Khan’s death spread, politicians, friends and associates reached the house. Close relatives were allowed to enter the house, while friends and well-wishers were stopped outside the house. A coffin was also brought to the house but after sometime was taken back in the same vehicle.

City Police Chief, Asad Jahangir, said the former federal minister left a note for his family which suggested that it was a suicide case.

He said Omar Asghar was performing his routine activities since Sunday night, following his arrival in the city. He was staying at his brother-in-law’s residence in Defence Phase-IV.

Around 11am, when he did not come out of his room, his brother-in-law Saleem and uncle Farooq Rehmatullah broke open the door and found the body hanging from the ceiling fan, Asad Jahangir said.

About the contents of the note left behind by Omar Asghar, the city police chief said it contained the following statement: “All my dear ones, I could not take it any more, please excuse me. I am doing this on my own and no one else is to blame.”

The city police chief said the family members verified that the writing was that of Omar’s. He said the police had not taken an expert opinion on the handwriting. He said the door was locked from inside and had to be broken by the family members. He said no signs of struggle were evident, and that the deceased committed suicide sometime after midnight.

DIG Karachi Operation Tariq Jamil said the family and the friends of Omar Asghar Khan did not mention that he had indicated to them or given any hint that he was going to commit suicide.

SUICIDE DENIED: The family of Omar Asghar Khan has dispelled the impression that the former labour minister had committed suicide, adds our staff reporter from Islamabad.

In a statement, Naeem Sardar Khan, a family spokesman, termed the impression that the former federal minister had committed suicide “unbelievable” and said that there existed no reasons to suggest that a person like Omar Asghar Khan would take such an extreme step.

The spokesman said that the family would wait for the true facts to come out after a thorough investigation.

PEOPLE SHOCKED: The news of the death of former federal minister Omar Asghar Khan spread like a jungle fire in the Abbottabad district and shocked the people, adds our correspondent from Abbottabad.

People from all walks of life visited his home to confirm the news. They offered condolence to his father, Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, who himself was in deep shock.

Omar, who had gone to Karachi two days back to attend a meeting, was found dead in his relatives’ residence on Tuesday. He was 48. He left behind three children and a widow to mourn his death.