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July 12, 2019

From tyre salesman to tyre industry tycoon

Karachi

July 12, 2019

Atif Zaman, the prime suspect of anchorperson Mureed Abbas and his friend Khizar Hayat’s murders in DHA, regained consciousness on Thursday. The police recorded his statement, which helped advance their investigations.

Belonging to a middle-class family of Karachi’s Kashmir Colony, Zaman started his career as a salesman at a tyre shop and became a tyre industry tycoon in just a few years.

Not only is he suspected of killing Abbas and Hayat, who invested millions of rupees in his tyre business, but he apparently also attempted suicide after attacking the two men on Tuesday. But he survived and was admitted in a private hospital in Clifton, where the police recorded his initial statement on Thursday.

The police said Abbas, a Mianwali farmer’s son, had moved to Karachi at the age of 13 and started working at a bungalow. Besides him and Hayat, 80 others — including several people associated with the media, especially anchorpersons — had invested large sums of money in Zaman’s business.

In his initial statement to the police, Zaman denied his brother was present at Abbas and Hayat’s murder scenes. The police believe that due to a financial crisis, Zaman had been avoiding his partners, who had been demanding their shares in the profits.

The police said that he recently resurfaced and decided to kill them, calling them at different locations, adding that a number of bullets were also found in his car.

“His mobile phone calls suggest he had planned to kill five of his partners,” said an investigator. “Luckily, three of them remain safe, as Zaman was cornered after killing two of them, as the police swiftly traced him to his house, prompting him to attempt suicide.”

Though Zaman denied his brother Adnan Zaman’s presence at the murder scenes, the CCTV footage obtained by the police shows a man in white shalwar kameez accompanying Atif Zaman. The police said Zaman had used his brother’s 30-bore pistol for the murders.

The investigators said Zaman had no business registered in his own name, as he was using the names of other people, adding that he smuggled tyres from Afghanistan.

They believe he may have also been involved in money laundering, saying that the police can get assistance from the Federal Board of Revenue if their suspicions are proved right.

Besides the double murder, the police have booked Zaman for attempting suicide as well as for illegal possession of a weapon, as according to the officials, the pistol’s licence was not in his name.

Darakhshan DSP Zahid Hussain, who is part of the special team investigating the case, told The News that the suspect’s statement has been recorded.

“Zaman has admitted to his crimes. He had planned to kill three more of his partners, who were demanding profit and the return of their invested money.”

However, added the officer, things went wrong and he was forced to attempt suicide, as the police swiftly reached his residence and did not give him a chance to think things through. “He had a total 50 bullets, of which 12 were used.”

DSP Hussain said the police were trying to ascertain how much money Zaman had amassed through fraud, as nothing was documented, adding that he had admitted in his statement that he had been facing a financial crisis and the investors had started threatening and blackmailing him.

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