Alleged murderer confesses to six murders

An edited version of this article was first published in The Express Tribune on Oct 22, 2013.

Islamabad – The murders of six people, including five of the same family, whose bodies were found in the federal capital on October 14, were planned and carried out by a relative of the family, Islamabad’s police chief announced on Monday.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Sikandar Hayat told a press conference that the prime suspect in the murders has been arrested and has confessed to the murders.

Two days before Eid ul Azha, police had found six dead bodies — four in Gora Shahan near Sihala and two in Loi Bher near the Police Foundation. Police had identified the deceased as Mobilink’s Director Technical Amirullah Khan, his wife Nadia Amir, their sons Adam and Haider, daughter Romana and the family’s servant Asghar.

Hayat said Nadia’s nephew, Sikandar Zia, has been arrested and has confessed that he committed the murders with the help of six people he had hired for the crime from Peshawar.

Zia was arrested a couple of days ago and is on a three-day physical remand, Superintendent Police (SP) City Mustansar Feroze said.

According to Zia’s confessional statement to the police, he killed the family to get their property, which was mostly registered under his aunt’s name.

Khan, who is an Australian national, and Nadia owned around a dozen houses in Rawalpindi, in addition to the house in Safari Villas 3, Bahria Town, where they lived and where they were murdered, the police chief said.

The family belonged to the Pir Piai village near Nowshera and was well-connected. Khan is the nephew of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Member National Assembly, Nafeesa Khattak. Khan’s wife is the niece of late former Army general Naseerullah Babar.

Police said Zia got the services of a Peshawar-based “don,” Afsar Khan, for the crime. Through Afsar Khan, who has also been arrested from Peshawar along with two accomplices, Zia brought four assassins to Rawalpindi.

Here, he put them up temporarily at a room above a petrol pump near Bahria Town, before they went for the kill on the night of October 13.

Zia also promised the family’s servant, Asghar, who had been hired only a few days before, that he would be paid Rs0.5 million if he stayed away from the house that night.

According to police, Zia helped the four assassins enter the house around 8pm on October 13, where within two hours they killed each member of the Khan family by strangulation, using a thin wire. Zia told police he then used the family’s car, a Toyota Fortuner, to take the bodies out of the residential community and dump them in a ditch in Sihala area.

When he came back to pick the dead body of his aunt, police said, the servant Asghar came back to the house. Afraid that the servant might spill the beans about the murders, the men got hold of him too and stabbed of him to death. Zia then dumped Nadia’s and Asghar’s bodies near Loi Bher.

Police said Zia then took the car to go drop the hired murderers back to Peshawar but a tracker installed in the car shut it down near Chach interchange and Zia could not get the tracker company to let him use the car. The men went to Peshawar using public transport, Hayat said, and Zia came back to Islamabad.

On October 14, perhaps out of guilt, Zia had himself informed the Bahria Town security guards and later police about the body of his aunt, Hayat said. Later, he also attended went to the family’s funeral in Pir Piai but returned to the capital.

Initial investigations by police hinted he could be the prime suspect and CCTV footage on Rawat Toll Plaza and Safari Villas entry gate showed him driving the car back and forth in the early hours of October 14.

He was arrested from the Safari Villas and confessed to planning and helping commit the murders.

Hayat said Zia had received a Masters in Business Administration from a university in Dubai and had returned to Peshawar in 2010. There, he had started work as a contractor offering parking services for NATO containers moving across the Pak-Afghan border.

He had made some money in the container parking business but had later lost some of his wealth in a robbery and other business losses, police claimed.

Zia was almost like a son to Khan, according to Zia’s statement to police, and Khan had helped him financially in the past. But the two grew apart when Zia decided to get engaged with a divorcee from their village in February.

“Zia’s parents were against the engagement but Khan was especially opposed to the match and tried to stop the wedding every chance he got,” Hayat said, based on Zia’s statement.

Hayat added that police believe this was a major grievance that might have fueled Zia’s criminal intent. But in his statement to police and the media, Zia said he had wanted to get a hold of the family’s property.

The IGP added that Zia’s in-laws wished that he would get his own house in Islamabad before marrying their daughter.

Police think Zia believed if the Khan family was out of the picture, he would get hold of their property because he was close to his aunt and because Khan had a poor relationship with his brother, who lives abroad, over property matters.

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