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February 5, 2018

Feud from Chagai ‘settled’ with blood on Karachi’s streets


February 5, 2018

The new year was just around the corner when a group of a dozen tribesmen set off for Karachi from Balochistan’s Chagai district. They drove non-stop and reached Sindh’s bustling capital within a half day without running into any trouble.

A little over a week later they made the headlines. Nineteen-year-old Imran Umer died of gunshot wounds in the upscale DHA neighbourhood on January 9. Police found his unregistered SUV riddled with 18 bullet holes. With their task accomplished, the tribesmen wasted no time disappearing from the city.

Almost a month later, investigators have established that Imran’s murder was the culmination of a feud that began with domestic violence in Chagai and was ‘settled’ with blood on the streets of Karachi.

The Chagai story

An FIR under sections of premeditated murder, attempted murder and common intention was initially registered at the Sahil police station on the complaint of the victim’s cousin against the father-in-law of Imran’s sister and 11 other suspects.

However, the case was later transferred to the Darakhshan police as the Sahil police’s investigation officer, Aamir Altaf, was busy with the Zafir Zuberi murder case.

Darakhshan police’s Investigating Officer Aamir Virk told The News that one of Imran’s sisters was married to the son of a Chagai tribal leader named Sami. The sister endured domestic violence on a regular basis until one day she left her husband’s house and moved back into her father’s home.

The husband tried to take her back with him, but when she refused she was beaten up again. Her younger sister tried to intervene, but she was assaulted as well. When Imran confronted his brother-in-law over the incident, the duo got into a fight and the latter was finally thrown out of the house.

Feeling affronted, the man called his father for help. Sami left with his guards for Imran’s house and when they neared their destination, the guards opened fire on a car that looked like Imran’s.

However, the car turned out to belong to Sami’s own son, who lay inside shot and injured - not fatally - by his own father and his guards. After this, Imran’s father, Muhammed Umer, convened a jirga to settle the matter. The meeting decided that Umer would pay Rs12 million to Sami as penalty. Following the verdict, Imran moved to Karachi to live with his cousin at Khayaban-e-Roomi in Phase-VIII of DHA.

The Karachi murder

IO Virk said an uncle of Imran’s arrived in the city from Iran on January 9. Imran’s father had gifted him a new mid-size SUV that afternoon, so he drove his uncle to Sea View. At Saba Avenue in DHA Phase-VI, however, the vehicle was fired at by the Chagai tribesmen.

Imran drove on to Khayaban-e-Roomi in an injured condition but fell unconscious due to excessive bleeding. He was taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. The murder caused Imran’s father to lose his mind.

Investigation so far

Virk said the police had retrieved the call detail record (CDR) of Sami and 11 others nominated in the FIR, adding that the CDR’s analysis had placed two of the 12 suspects on the crime scene at the time of the murder and the others at different nearby spots in groups for backup.

The officer said the detailed analysis of the CDR had revealed that the tribesmen regularly met at one of the bustling tea shops on Saba Avenue, adding that all of the nominated suspects had gone back to Chagai after the murder.

Will they be arrested?

An independent investigation by The News has found that many of the investigators do not wish to go to Chagai to arrest the suspects, fearing that they might not make it back from the district.

Several senior officers were asked when they would send a police contingent to Chagai. They all remarked that since the suspects lived in a conflict zone, they would have to ensure the safety of the investigating team.

Virk, however, is confident about heading over to Chagai with his team. He said he had written to the Sindh Home Department for informing the Balochistan government that a Karachi police contingent would be visiting Chagai. He added they would first go to the Balochistan Home Department for seeking assistance of the local police.

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