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UK police confirm acid attack on Shahzad Akbar

November 29, 2023

LONDON: Hertfordshire police have confirmed that former Assets Recovery Unit (ARU) head Shahzad Akbar was assaulted at his home on Sunday afternoon by a yet unknown attacker.

In a statement, Hertfordshire police said that they were contacted by the ambulance service just before 4.45pm on November 26 to reports of an assault in Royston – around 50 miles out of London where Akbar now lives with his wife and two daughters. 

The police said “It is believed an acidic solution was used. A 46-year-old man received hospital treatment and has now been discharged. The safety of any victim is paramount and we believe this is an isolated incident. Active enquiries are underway. Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information which could assist with our investigation is asked to please contact police.”

This image shows former Assets Recovery Unit head Shahzad Akbar with a bandage on his hand after an acid attack in the UK. — Provided by the author
This image shows former Assets Recovery Unit head Shahzad Akbar with a bandage on his hand after an acid attack in the UK. — Provided by the author

The police sources – and Shahzad Akbar - also confirmed to the Geo News that he had written to the police around two weeks ago complaining that he felt threatened because his new address in Royston was known to the Pakistani government. Imran Khan’s former advisor did so after receiving a letter from the Cabinet Division asking questions about his role in the £190 million NCA properties settlement case and Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi’s Al-Qadir Trust.

Akbar said: “I have been in touch with the UK agencies (Police, National Crime Agency (NCA), intelligence services) after my brother was arrested in Pakistan and kept in custody for many months. The letter two weeks ago came to my new address which was shocking for me because it was a clear message from the Pakistan government that my location is known. So the police already knew about this matter. What was the need to send me a letter at my new address when letters were being served at my Islamabad address.”

A source linked with the government with full knowledge of the ongoing cases said it’s a legal requirement to serve legal papers on the accused’s known address to fulfil legal requirements. Shahzad Akbar holds evidence and documents in the £190 million corruption case and he took away these state-owned papers and refused to cooperate with the inquiry, said the source. Shahzad Akbar denies this.

On Sunday evening, an unidentified man threw acid on his face at his home in the United Kingdom. Speaking to Geo News, Akbar said a delivery person came to his house and threw acid on him as soon as he opened the door. However, he said, most of the acid landed on the door and only a small amount landed on him. Akbar said he was lucky not to lose his sight in the attack on Sunday afternoon. “I was saved by my spectacles, which were badly damaged. There are acid burns on my hands and arms. “My wife and children remained unharmed, only I received some injuries,” said the former PTI leader.

Akbar said that he called the police soon after the incident and the law enforcement officials reached his residence within five minutes. The former accountability chief said that he remained in the hospital for 10 to 11 hours after which he was taken back home. Akbar told Geo News that the area around his home has been cordoned off and he is assisting the police in investigating the incident. He added that the police also recovered the acid bottle which the police said had fingerprints of the suspect. He said that the suspect was dressed as a delivery boy and was travelling on a bike.