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A murder mystery only Sherlock Holmes could solve

September 24, 2012

What was being cast by the police as an open-and-shut suicide case has turned out to be stuff fit for the plot of a murder mystery.

In early September, a woman died in the jurisdiction of the Bara Kahu police station. A man claiming to be her husband said that she had committed suicide, and from what appears the police officers favoured him and hushed up the matter without any investigation.

That is till two weeks later, when another man claiming to be her first husband appeared. He told the police that she had been in hiding with her paramour for two years, after they made away selling his property and gold valuables.

In between the claims and counter-claims, the Bara Kahu police station has come under scrutiny for shoddy investigations.

According to details made available to Dawn by the local police, on September 9 a man named Fazal Wahid brought a woman named Fehmida, between 35 and 45 years old, to the Poly Clinic Institute.

Fehmida had a gunshot wound on the right side of her chest, and by the time the police arrived at the hospital, she had succumbed to her injury.

Wahid told the police that he was a Pashtun from Charsadda and was living with his wife in Madina Town. That day when he returned home from the local bazaar, he found Fehmida lying in a pool of blood.

He alleged that his wife was mentally challenged and had committed suicide, and claimed that he did not have any personal enmity.

Without even waiting for the autopsy report to come through, and without any show of documents to prove their marriage or her identity, the police handed the woman’s body to Wahid for burial.

The case was recorded in the daily diary under section CrPC 174 (police to inquire on suicide).

By then the autopsy report based on the ballistics and trajectory had come and suggested that the gun had not been fired by the victim, but the police ignored it.

Ten days later, on September 19, a man named Ali Rehman approached the police and claimed that Fehmida was his wife of 20 years and he had a 19-year-old son from her.

He first claimed that she had been kidnapped in 2010 by Wahid. Besides, he also accused the two of forging property documents and selling his house for Rs6 million in Peshawar while he was away working in Saudi Arabia.

Initially, the Bara Kahu police ignored him but when Ali Rehman approached senior officials who went through the details of the case, they were forced to register his complaint.

Since then the Bara Kahu police’s preliminary investigations have revealed that Wahid eloped with Fehmida in 2010 and took away gold ornaments and other valuables.

Wahid had also forged property documents, first transferring it in Fehmida’s name, and then his own. Later, with the help of his brother Fazal Ullah, a police official in Peshawar police, he sold the house for Rs6 million.

According to Ali Rehman, he had been chasing the couple and had traced them to Islamabad, but the Peshawar police refused to lodge his complaint.

When contacted, the investigation officer of the case said that Wahid had produced a marriage certificate dated February 22, 2012, and that Fehmida had obtained separation from her first husband from a Peshawar court before marrying Wahid.

Another officer admitted that there had been a cover-up. It is pertinent to mention here that the original investigating officer of the case was dismissed on charges of corruption, during his deputation in the Anti-Car lifting Cell in 2011.

It is unclear how Ali Rehman found out about his ex-wife’s death and why he had not created a fuss earlier when he lost property worth millions.

Hence a senior police officer said that it was premature to accuse anyone, but circumstantial evidence pointed toward both Wahid and Rehman.