Woman’s murder: investigators recommend action against 22 people
RAWALPINDI, Dec 26: A joint investigation team (JIT) investigating the murder of a woman in Dhoke Gangal found 22 people guilty including the younger brother of former deputy speaker of the National Assembly and five policemen.
The police teams have started raids to arrest those who have gone into hiding.
Among those who have been declared accused are five policemen – Tariq Mehboob, the then deputy superintendent of police Civil Line Circle; Mian Afzal, station house officer Airport police station; Sub-Inspector Asmat Mehmood, the then investigating officer; and two police constables Ishtiaq Ahmed and Arshad Mehmood.
But the main culprit – who still remains at large – is Imtiaz Khokhar, alias Taji Khokhar, the younger brother of former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, and his two sons Omer and Farrukh Khokhar.
Haji Nawaz Khokhar served as deputy speaker of the National Assembly from 1990 to 1993 in the PML-N government. He later joined Pakistan People’s Party. His brother Imtiaz Khokhar alias Taji Khokhar is allegedly involved in the murder and land grabbing case.
The case involves Ms Sabira, wife of Raja Yaqoob, who was gunned down at a disputed landsite in Dhoke Gangal on August 17, 2012. The incident occurred when a commission headed by Raja Saimul Haq Satti advocate was trying to resolve the land dispute, in the presence of Taji Khokhar.
The one man commission was appointed by Civil Judge Sardar Hamid. Interestingly, the JIT has now recommended that Raja Saimul Haq Satti advocate, head of the commission, should also be arrested for abetting in the murder.
After the murder, Raja Yaqoob, the husband of the deceased, named 13 people as murder suspects in the FIR registered with the Airport police on August 17, 2012.
Of the 13 suspects, the police arrested seven and sent them to jail.
When the police failed to arrest the remaining suspects, Saima Yaqoob, the daughter of the deceased woman, appeared before Inspector General of Police Punjab Haji Habibur Rehman in an open kutchery (open court) in Gujar Khan on September 30, 2012.
At the open court hearing, the daughter demanded the police to arrest the killers of her mother. As a result the JIT was formed by the provincial government to probe into the murder case.
The Punjab home department issued a notification in this regard on October 20, 2012, and appointed a six-member JIT team.
The JIT was led by Abu Bakar Khuda Baksh, deputy inspector general of police, crime investigation branch, Lahore.
The other members of the JIT were Raja Basharat Mehmood, district police officer Gujrat; Liaquat Ali, deputy superintendent of police investigation Lahore; Inspector Tahir Sadiq, Inspector Abid Hussain Khokhar and Inspector counter terrorism department Javaid Hassan.
The JIT found five policemen guilty and recommended to book the then DSP Tariq Mehboob, the then SHO Mian Afzal and inspector Asmat Mehmood on charges of destroying evidence from the scene of the crime.
It also recommended arresting two police constables Arshad Mehmood and Ishtiaq Ahmed who had been deputed for the protection of Sabira Bibi.
While citing intelligence reports, the JIT said Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Civil Line Tariq Mehboob had been a frequent visitor to Taji Khokhar’s house and was being addressed by his men as ‘munshi sahib’.
According to police sources, the then SDPO, Tariq Mehboob – who is considered an influential police officer – managed to leave the country to join UN peacekeeping mission sometime after the JIT started its investigation.
Taji Khokhar and his two sons are yet to be arrested by the police.
The 17-page JIT report also directed the police to arrest all of the accused found guilty and requested the interior ministry to put their names on Exit Control List (ECL) to prevent them from going abroad.
The JIT report also suggested that the murder of Sabira Bibi could have been averted if the commission head Raja Saimul Haq Satti had not gone to the site on August 17.
It also directed the concerned police to impound the vehicles of Taji Khokhar, which had been used for traveling to the disputed land, when Sabira Bibi was murdered.
The report also said that Imtiaz Khokhar alias Taji Khokhar was notorious as the head of a land mafia, employing people of questionable repute, who were involved in forcibly occupying land owned by poor people.
It further said that the accused were provided an opportunity to appear before the JIT to record their statements but they tried to influence the JIT by using different tactics.
During the JIT proceedings, Taji Khokhar filed a petition in the Lahore High Court, disputing the scene of the crime as it falls into the limit of Islamabad capital territory.
The court rejected Taji Khokhar’s stance and disposed of the petition on November 22, 2012.
The murder of Sabira Bibi was a clear cut message to the public that anybody who tried to oppose Taji Khokhar would face the same fate, the JIT report said.
The report added that a large number of people had approached the JIT complaining against Taji Khokhar.
As the JIT submitted its report and the police started its investigation to complete the challan — adding sections of the anti-terrorist act in the case — the accused have gone into hiding and have also switched off their cell phones.