Karachi: Sheikh-Amer Hassan murder: Wannabe model claims ‘defense of honour’
KARACHI: The 23–year–old B.Com student who has been arrested on the charges of murdering designer Sheikh–Amer Hassan has claimed that he committed the crime after being attacked, insulted and threatened. Ameer Hamza Awan, who was arrested by the Clifton police, told Daily Times that on the night of the murder Hassan invited him home with the promise of making him a star. He claims that Hassan gave him something to drink and tried to pull his clothes off, which Hamza resisted. He fled and returned with his younger brother and their father’s gun. He was so angry that he even had a small car accident on the way back to the designer’s Zamzama flat.
All they planned to do, Hamza claims, is hit Hassan with the butt of the gun. “I did not want to kill Amer,” the young man said. “But the situation compelled me to kill him.”
Hamza claims that Sheikh–Amer insulted him by saying that he had seen many boys like him come and go and he was just like one of them. He would amount to nothing and Sheikh–Amer would make sure he would never succeed in the world of modeling.
An already depressed Hamza felt he had no “choice” except to kill the designer. One shot fired into the ceiling and the other hit Amer’s head.
Hamza had wanted to be a model from childhood. But his dreams were unacceptable to his conservative and religious family that hailed from the Khushab in Punjab. He and his three brothers had come to Karachi with their mother a while ago and his father, a transporter, stayed back. He always wanted to become a “model” or a “hero” and trained at the gym and invested in stylish clothes and looks but his family was against it. His father has yet to visit him in custody.
In 2005, Hamza met Sheikh–Amer at a fashion show. “It was just amazing for me when I met Amer for the first time and he appreciated my skills and personality,” said Hamza. “I was really happy because I kept thinking of a bright future.”
The next time they met online, via Orkut, and started to regularly chat. “We usually chatted about health,” said Hamza, adding that there was nothing improper about the contact. They exchange tips on physique and grooming. And in the days before the murder, Sheikh–Amer had persuaded Hamza to diet more, saying it was the most important thing for a model.
Hamza followed all the instructions. “I was crazy to become a model therefore I always did what Amer told me,” he said.
After the murder, Hamza knew he would be eventually arrested because of the cell phone records. He did however delete information from their online interaction and change phone numbers. He also cut his hair.
According to Assistant Superintendent of Police Asad Raza the mobile phone company took 15 days to retrieve the records, which also risked Hamza’s flight in the meantime. No silencer was used in the murder as previously thought. But despite this no one from the surrounding area came forward to help the police. Hamza even told the investigators that he knew someone outside the building saw them fleeing. “I think there were others as well,” he said.
It was only one person they traced from their online friends who helped with the investigation. “It was a long process and was embarrassing,” said ASP Raza.
Investigators found that there were fingerprint matches with the shells and Hamza’s clothes had Sheikh–Amer’s blood on them.
Hamza said he just did it to “save his honour”. “The government should understand what happened with me.”