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September 22, 2020

Two suspects in Dr Maha Shah death case escape from City Courts

Karachi

September 22, 2020

Junaid Khan and Waqas Hasan, suspects in the Dr Maha Shah death case, escaped from the City Courts on Monday after their application for interim bail was rejected. The two men fled in a rickshaw while the investigating officer could do nothing to stop them, following which he was suspended.

“Escape of a suspect from police custody is itself a crime, so a case will be registered against the IO, while a departmental inquiry has also been initiated,” said a senior officer. The Preedy Investigations DSP will conduct the inquiry.

“A case is also being registered against the fleeing suspects because escaping from police custody is a crime. Khan was handcuffed while he escaped. The IO tried to catch them but they fled in a rickshaw.”

The officer said that this could have been prevented if there had been enough police strength. He said that officials are trying to arrest them, making the assurance that they would be arrested soon.

According to reports, Khan had claimed that the IO took Rs100,000 from the two suspects to influence the case in their favour. The officer said that all the allegations would be cleared during the investigation. It has also been reported that Khan’s lawyers helped him escape. In a video clip of the incident, the two men can be seen running out of the court.

Dr Maha’s father Syed Asif Ali Shah fears that the suspects might leave the country. “If they haven’t done anything wrong, why did they escape? We’re satisfied with the police investigation, but fear that the suspects might escape abroad.” Shah had accused the men of getting his daughter addicted to drugs. He said they would easily escape from the country just like they had managed to escape from the court.

‘Sufficient evidence’

Earlier, a judicial magistrate dismissed the pre-arrest bail applications of Khan and Hasan after the police submitted the interim charge sheet in the Dr Maha death case, adds our correspondent.

They sought pre-arrest bail claiming that they were innocent and falsely implicated in the case. District South JM-VII Tehmina Yasir said that prima facie there were sufficient evidences available with the prosecution against the two men.

Dr Maha, who had been practising at a private hospital in Clifton, allegedly committed suicide by shooting herself at her house in the upmarket DHA neighbourhood last month.

Police booked her friends — namely Dr Irfan Qureshi, Khan, Hasan, Saad and Tabish — on the complaint of her father, who claimed that they had abused his daughter and poisoned or intoxicated her, which led to her death.

At the outset of the hearing, the IO submitted the interim charge sheet. The report said that the 9mm pistol used in the incident was licensed to Saad, who had purchased it from Tabish.

Saad had given the pistol to Dr Maha a month ago, according to the report, and her death occurred with the same weapon. The report said that verification of Saad’s licence was still awaited.

Originally from Mirpurkhas, Dr Maha had been renting a house in DHA Phase-IV, where she moved with her father and sisters. In August she had been taken to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre with critical wounds but could not survive. Police had declared her death a suicide.

Her father had claimed that two of the three prime suspects influenced the investigation into his daughter’s death. He said Khan and Hasan worked with the doctors to have the medico-legal officer (MLO) changed after his daughter’s body was sent to the hospital.

“Why did my daughter commit suicide? It was being claimed that Dr Maha was upset with her parents,” he said, adding that he worked hard to ensure his daughter got a good education.

“The first to reach the hospital was Waqas [Hasan], who identified himself as a technician. Then Junaid [Khan] arrived. Waqas and Junaid, in collusion with the doctors, had the MLO replaced.”

Shah had earlier held a news conference to accuse Khan of blackmailing his daughter. “My daughter is gone now, but people should save their daughters from men like Junaid. He treated my daughter horribly. He physically abused her as well. My daughter had shared with her friends what happened to her.”

Days after the news conference, Khan had held one of his own at the Karachi Press Club. Defending himself on the occasion, he had claimed that Dr Maha ended her own life because of her differences with her father over property and family issues.

Man flees

A suspect arrested over charges of possessing an illegal weapon also managed to escape from the city courts on Monday. Tariq Mukhtiar had been arrested by the Sir Syed police for allegedly keeping an illegal weapon.

He was imprisoned at the District Jail Malir, from where he was brought to court for his hearing, but he managed to escape from the court. Police said a case was registered against the suspect at the City Courts police station for escaping from police custody, while a departmental inquiry was also initiated against the policemen who had brought him to court.