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Murderer’s chase now leads to Afghanistan

December 24, 2012

RAWALPINDI, Dec 23: Local and Islamabad police officers chasing a long lost murder accused are visiting the Afghan embassy for help on Monday as he is reportedly living in Afghanistan, according to a senior police officer.

Malik Omer Hayat, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of the Rawalpindi City Circle, told Dawn that the Taliban group led by Mangal Bagh might be sheltering Roohullah, the wanted man.

Roohullah, 46, a native of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is accused of murdering Sardar Khan, a former high court judge and advocate general of the province, in Islamabad in February 2010. He was traced to Muscat exactly a year later and was arrested.

But in July this year he dramatically escaped from police custody from the District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) in Rawalpindi by bribing the medical and jail staff.

Later, he was reported to have been spotted in Afghanistan. “Police had been trying their best to arrest him from Afghanistan but the Interpol and the Afghan authorities did not respond to our requests. Neither did the Frontier Constabulary and the boarder security force proved any help,” the SDPO said.

Police investigators applied to the Afghan embassy for visas in the last week of September, he said, but the request was neither refused nor granted. The heat on the police increased when last Tuesday the Supreme Court ordered them to arrest within two weeks the man accused of murdering the aged ex-judge Sardar Khan.

SDPO Hayat said that he raided the house of Roohullah in Peshawar with the help of local police on Sunday, expecting him to be visiting his two wives living there. “But the raid proved unproductive,” said the officer.

Sardar Khan's murder had caused the legal community much anguish.

Respected for his competence and uprightness, he had taken to practising law after his retirement.

It is alleged that he was murdered for refusing bribes offered to stop him pleading the Peshawar Development Authority's case of land grabbing against Roohullah, reputedly a rich but shady land developer and arms manufacturer.

Later, Roohullah used the girlfriend of a young man he treated as a son to snare an unwilling Sardar Khan as a client.

However, he became suspicious while being driven to some place by the two and jumped out of the car when it slowed at a point in sector G-10 and ran. Roohullah, who was following them, then allegedly shot him dead.

Police investigations traced him to Muscat a year later and he was arrested and brought home with Interpol help. But, according to police sources, while waiting for trial lodged in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, Roohullah prepared an elaborate escape plan, using the loads of money that he had.

Police sources say Roohullah promised jail inmate Raja Arsalan his ‘judicial connections’ would get him acquitted of the charge of murdering his wife and daughter if the latter helped him escape.

That deal resulted in Roohullah feign he needed hospitalisation from where his money and Raja Arsalan's cousin Raja Rashid helped him escape on the night of July 29, 2012.