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Unsolved murder of Ahmadi doctor reopens, accused arrested

Dr Mehdi, killed in 2014, and his ex-wife Wajiha, killed in 2021.

 

The unsolved murder of Ahmadi heart specialist in Rabwa, Dr Mehdi Ali Qamar, is reopened after eight long years as the Chenab Nagar police have taken one of the accused in custody for interrogation.

The accused, Rizwan Habib Bangash, was already on judicial remand in the killing of Dr Mehdi’s ex-wife at Adiala Jail since January 05. Dr Mehdi’s was gunned down on May 26, 2014, when he was visiting Rabwa from the US. The reason for Dr Mehdi’s murder in the FIR was stated as hate motivation as he was from the persecuted Ahmadiyya community. Since then, there was no development in the investigation.

Rizwan Habib Bangash faces charges of both murders

 

Accused Bangash is with the Chenab Nagar (Rabwa) police on transit remand for one day and would be presented before an anti terrorism court Faisalabad on Wednesday for his physical remand, duty officer at the police station told Religion Observer by phone.

 

By the same author: Did the same man kill Wajiha Swati, Dr Mehdi Qamar? 

 

Bangash came into question on Dr Mehdi’s murder during his interrogation of the murder of Wajiha Sawati, who married him six months after the death of her ex-husband Dr Mehdi Ali Qamar. He was just arrested on suspicion of killing Wajiha, a US national.

According to details, Wajiha arrives in Islamabad from the US but goes missing from October 16. Wajiha’s eldest son based in the US files a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court, which directs the police to arrest Rizwan based on suspicion. Rizwan is arrested on December 26 and confesses to killing Wajiha when he is questioned by the Rawalpindi police. The police recover Wajiha’s body which was flown back to the US for burial. Rizwan, along with his father and six accomplices were sent to Adiala Jail on judicial remand.

Given the availability of some circumstantial evidence associating Rizwan with the murder of Dr Mehdi, he was required by us in a bid to take the investigation on the logical end, said a police officer close to the investigation.

According to the First Information Report, Dr Mehdi was targeted for being an Ahmadi. Ahmadis in Pakistan are under constant threat to their lives and properties because of difference of their religion in Pakistan. Most of the cases on the basis of religious hate go untraced and Dr Mehdi’s case was also being treated in the same way. With the arrest of Bangash, police officers close to the investigation are of the view that Dr Mehdi’s murder was not because of his religious belief. There is a strong likelihood that he was killed because of his wife because the accused wanted to marry her. Wajiha and Bangash had spent several months together in Dubai and Pakistan even before the death of Dr Mehdi, the police officer said.

Wajiha and Dr Mehdi were born Ahmadi while Rizwan was not. Rizwan and Wajiha’s marriage was solemnized by Qari Ghulam Mustafa, the imam of Judicial Complex Peshawar mosque, unlike an Ahmadi nikkah which takes place under the administration of the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya.

According to the marriage certificate, it was incumbent upon the groom to pay Rs2.5 million in cash and gold ornaments weighing 50 tolas (583 gram) as Mehar Moajjal (prompt dower) to the bride at the time of rukhsati (departure of the bride). According to Section 16 of the marriage certificate, the groom had also promised to give her land, monthly pocket money and shops as Mehar Ghair Moajjal (deferred dower).

He had promised to transfer the total share of his inherited property to her. In addition to that, he had pledged to gift her 32 acres of his land in Badin, Sindh. He had pledged one kanal in different two Khasras of district Hangu, a market with 40 shops in Hangu and Rs20,000 per month as pocket money. Finally, according to Section 19 of the marriage certificate, the groom was bound not to remarry during the life of Wajiha Farooq. At a corner of the Nikah Nama, it was written that the groom would construct a petrol pump in the ownership of the bribe.

Astonishingly, there are some serious factual discrepancies in the marriage certificate, particularly about Wajiha. She is declared a virgin and about three years younger than Rizwan. Factually, however, she was seventeen years older than Rizwan and the mother of three sons.

According to their Computerized National Identity Cards issued by the Government of Pakistan, Wajiha born on October 23, 1976, while Rizwan born on March 15, 1993. According to her CNIC, issued in 2011 and valid till 2031, Wajiha never changed her name with NADRA after her first marriage to Dr Mehdi and second marriage to Rizwan. The card still bears her father’s name “Umar Farooq Swathi”.

Dissolution of Marriage Suit

Six months before she traveled to Pakistan and went missing, Wajiha tried to end her marriage with Bangash. She acquired a Fatwa from Lal Masjid, Islamabad, on February 16, 2021, saying that she was a Sunni Muslim and her husband Rizwan had become an Ahmadi. In this way, she got her marriage declared void by Mufti Habib Salman of Darul Ifta Lal Masjid.

After acquiring the Fatwa, Wajiha filed a suit for the dissolution or end of her marriage in an Abbottabad family court on March 6, 2021, but she did not attach a copy of the Fatwa with the suit application. However, by June 21, Wajiha took back the case to end her marriage, saying that she had entered into a compromise with her husband. On the same day in the evening, however, she filed an FIR Nawan Shehar police station against a man identified as Sayed Qamar Ali Shah and two of his sisters on allegations of rape and criminal intimidation.

The story given to the police and recorded in the FIR made it seem as if she had registered it under Rizwan’s influence. In the FIR, Wajiha and Rizwan are said to have married “around eight years” before the registration of the FIR, contrary to the fact that her first husband Dr Mehdi had died less than seven years before that date. Additionally, Wajiha says she has a seven-year-old son with Rizwan. Contrary to that, the son mentioned in the FIR was nine years old and his name is also misspelled in the FIR.

 

(The writer is based in Canada. He studied Journalism; Religion, Culture & Global Justice. He can be reached @RanaTanver)

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