The Karachi police have recovered the body of a woman, who went missing six months ago, from the farmhouse of a retired army officer, it emerged Monday.
The woman, identified as Aziz Akhtar, was reported missing by her family at the Steel Town police station in October 2020.
Her husband had told police that his wife, who was a beautician, left home on October 3 for her beauty salon but didn’t return home. According to the FIR, the family tried to contact her on her cellphone but it was switched off.
Nearly four months after registration of the FIR, Akhtar’s husband – a former Pakistan Steels Mills employee – reached the office of the East DIG Nauman Siddiqui with a complaint. He said the police weren’t doing enough to recover his wife.
He said a man identified as Muhammad Abbas Bangash reached out to the family and said he could help recover the woman if they agreed to pay Rs500,000.
Bangash was arrested by the police in March after the case was transferred to the Anti-Violent Crime Cell. He was presented before a magistrate and remanded into the police custody.
According to the investigating officer, Bangash said he didn’t know who killed the woman but he did know where her body was dumped.
“On the information provided by Bangash, the police reached a farmhouse in Memon Goth, owned by a retired major of the Pakistan Army, and found the woman’s decomposed body,” said Wazir Ali Samon, the investigating officer.
Bangash told the police that Major (retired) Mehboob Akhtar Mian used to visit the woman’s salon with his guards, Sarwar and Hassan. He said he became friends with Sarwar at the salon during their visits.
Bangash claimed that Sarwar borrowed Rs20,000 from him last year. He said he visited the retired major’s farmhouse on October 4 to receive his money but Sarwar wasn’t there.
Bangash said he was offering prayers in a room there when he overheard Sarwar telling Mehboob that the body that he (Mehboob) had given him to dump had resurfaced and he had to dump it again after folding it into a net.
Mehboob had realized that Bangash had heard their conversation, Bangash told the police. Mehboob asked him to either leave the city or work for him, he said.
The investigating officer said that Bangash had fled to Rahim Yar Khan after escaping from the farmhouse, but the retired major’s men traced him and brought him back to Karachi.
Bangash told police that Mehboob had asked him to reach out to the family and tell them he could help find the woman, if they paid him Rs500,000.
Akhtar owned two plots in Thatta district and Mehboob got them fraudulently transferred to him, according to Bangash. But Mehboob didn’t want to reveal himself as the owner of the plots so he transferred the ownership to Bangash and told him to sell those plots.
“They killed my mother and then they planned to swindle us because they knew that my father got retirement fund from the Steel Mills,” Akhtar’s son Malik Mujahid told SAMAA Digital.
Mujahid said that Bangash introduced himself as a serving army officer to his family. He said Bangash came to him a few days after the disappearance of his mother and said that he could bring her back if they gave him Rs2 million.
Mujahid said that he told Bangash that he didn’t have such a huge amount, but he could give him Rs500,000.
“When Bangash realized that we will not pay him twenty lac rupees, then he brought a fake agreement in which it was written that my mother took Rs700,000 loan from him,” the woman’s son said.
Bangash also sold their two plots in Dhabejee that were owned by his mother, he said.
The investigating officer, however, believes that minting money from Akhtar was not the only reason behind her murder.
The police will go after Major (retired) Mehboob and others involved in the murder, he said. Once all the suspects are arrested, the reason behind the murder would also be known, he added.