Islamabad: Hunted man’s luck outlasts his hunter’s
ISLAMABAD: Police arrested here on Wednesday a man wanted for ordering the killing of an under-trial prisoner who, however, survived three attempts on his life.
Two innocent women though paid with their lives for the thrice lucky under–trial prisoner (UTP) Rana Mohammad Sarwat alias Ayub.
Police said the 51-year-old wanted man had changed his name to Mujahid Ahmed for his relentless hunt for the killer but continued to introduce himself with his original name of Manzoor which made it difficult to track him down.
Finally, the monitoring of his mobile phone number provided by one of the hired killers, who was caught after the second botched attempt on the life of UTP Sarwat, helped the police intercept him in the Bhara Kahu suburbs of Islamabad while he was travelling from Murree to Rawalpindi.
Manzoor-now-Mujahid ran a law firm and a school in Karachi, where the arrested hired gun Mohammad Iqbal was employed, before taking up residence in Rawalpindi to pursue his prey.
It all started in Lahore in 2001 when Mujahid/Manzoor’s cousin Rana Zahid Hafiz was kidnapped for ransom. Sarwat and two other kidnappers kept Hafiz in Bhara Kahu.
Hafiz was in their custody for 45 days when he got a chance to escape but was pursued by the kidnappers. A police party saw the chase and Hafiz was killed in the encounter between the police and the kidnappers.
Of the three kidnappers, police say they could trace out only Sarwat, living in the United States. Interpol arrested him in 2003 and delivered him to Pakistani police.
Since the kidnapping had occurred in Lahore and murder of Hafiz in Islamabad territory, Sarwat was tried and sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a Lahore court on the charge of kidnapping only.
After serving that sentence he is now being tried in Islamabad for murder. Sarwat though has claimed alibi, saying he had fled the country before the encounter took place in which Hafiz was killed.
But for Manzoor-Mujahid – and Hafiz’s brother Rana Asif and brother-in-law Mohammad Zubair who also lived in Karachi trading in gold, hundi and currency exchange in Pakistan and Dubai – Sarwat was the man to avenge the kidnapping and murder of Hafiz.
Police say Manzoor-Mujahid told them after his arrest that he planned the revenge and hired the killers and Asif and Zubair provided the funds, with the former now in Dubai and the latter in Lahore.
According to the police, Manzoor-Mujahid also said that he was present at three botched attacks on Sarwat by the killers he had hired – first time on September 13, 2011 in the court compound by a lone hitman, second time at the same place on December 13, 2011 by his one-time employee, Mohammad Iqbal and the last time on January 14, 2012 by three gunmen at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences where the target was recovering from the wounds from the second attack on him.
Ironically, the hitman who had missed Sarwat in the first attempt was part of the threesome and Sarwat still survived because they barged into the wrong hospital room – Room 9 instead of Room 8.
They ended up killing two women, the mother and sister of a joint secretary of the government of Pakistan who was lying ill in Room 9.
Police are after Asif and Zubair and for the hired killers but are keeping their names secret. Mohammad Iqbal of Kotli Sattian, the only hired gun in custody, landed in the hands of Islamabad police because he was caught trafficking heroin by Nowshera police and confessed to be a hired gun too.