Blood-stained hands fail to plunder gold
Lust for gold led an unemployed man to slay five members of his elder brother’s family. But all he could get were blood stains on his hand as the ornaments he was eying were worth a trifle.
His accomplice, Zaheer Malik, refused to give him anything out of the loot worth Rs4,000 to 5,000 though he had planned to make Rs300,000 or thereabouts through the crime. Police investigation revealed that Asghar Ali, a resident of Fatehabad, was jobless for the past many months and suffered bouts of frustration for being ‘penniless’. Having an evil eye cast on the jewellery of his sister-in-law, he planned with his friend, Zaheer (alias Mota), murder of all members of his brother’s family.
Accordingly, he visited Sardar Khawar’s place in Dastagir Colony in the Batala Colony police precinct on Aug 14 and offered intoxicated juice to the relatives.
A police officer told Dawn the suspect got tablets from an addict at Al–Fateh ground on Sattiana Road for Rs200 two days before the incident and mixed them in juice he gave to Khawar and his two daughters — Javeria and Fareeha.
The suspects, he said, stabbed Javeria which frightened her sister Fareeha who was in a semi-conscious state. Khawar’s wife Saleema and son woke up to screaming and found Asghar and Zaheer ransacking the house.
Asghar told the police that his sister-in-law, who was pregnant, tried to save her children but they slit open her throat. Moments later the killers found gold earrings worth a few thousand. Zaheer fell out with Asghar over the issue and refused to give him anything out of loot including two cell phones and Rs2,400 in cash.
In a somewhat similar incident, on Dec 11, 2006, Shahbaz of Chak 34, Deputy Wala, Nankana Sahib had killed four of his relatives — Hameeda Bibi, her daughter Sajida, son Sajid and seven-year old granddaughter Zonera — to grab gold ornaments.
However, he could find only Rs7,000 from the house. Like Asghar, Zaheer was unemployed and his squabbles with his family over monetary concerns were a routine. Dastardly by any stretch of imagination, the incident also throws light on the aspect of unemployment in the country. The Federal Bureau of Statistics in its Pakistan Labour Force Survey 2011 shows the unemployment rate rising to 6 per cent in 2011 compared to 5.6 per cent of preceding year.
The police said Asghar gave milk feeder to the infant, a gesture showing he did not want to kill him. However, the fit of rage blinded him as he failed to find anything. He locked the child in a cupboard, with a pillow pressing his mouth, leaving him to die.
Zaheer went to his in-laws in Chitral after leaving his children and approached his Pir Sahib (faith healer) in Peshawar, seeking his invocation for escaping to Dubai. Investigators said the police picked up Usman, a younger brother of Zaheer, in Rex City, a computer market. During the course of investigation, the police came to know about possible escape of Zaheer from Pakistan but managed to arrest him at a bus stop in Peshawar.
Sources quoted Asghar as telling the police that he was well aware of gold ornaments of Saleema Bibi. The police said Saleema had sold her jewellery a couple of months ago and gave money to her husband to invest in his business. Khawar was a potter and worked at ground floor of his house.
Asghar further said, claimed sources, he hoped to get the property of his brother to get rid of poverty. City Police Officer Rai Tahir said the killing of five people created panic across the district that prompted police to trace criminals. He said a five-member team headed by SSP investigation Mujahid Akbar had been constituted and officials of the Crime Investigation Agency also were asked to work on the issue.
He said fingerprints led to the arrest of the suspects who had thrown sharp-edged weapons they used to kill the family in Jhal Khanuana canal to sink evidence. He said the bodies kept lying in the house for two days as the house door had automatic lock.
Both suspects washed their blood-stained clothes at Khawar’s house and left it around 2:30am.