Sharjeel Memon has no Link in kidnapping of my younger brother - Khalid Memon

Written by  Express Tribune Monday, 07 September 2015 17:10

HYDERABAD: As the provincial minister Sharjeel Memon is being implicated in a controversial kidnapping case, the family of the kidnapped person, Dr Asif Memon, has taken up the cudgels on behalf of Sharjeel.

“He has no link in the kidnapping of my younger brother,” said Khalid Ahmed Memon in a press statement and while talking to The Express Tribune. Khalid, who described Sharjeel as a close friend, also urged the media to stop the ‘trial’ of Sharjeel on the basis of such spurious accusations.

The deposed SSP of Thatta, Pir Farid Jan Sarhindi, linked the minister with the kidnapping on Thursday after arresting a suspect, Bashir Brohi, from Hyderabad, where Asif was kidnapped in October, 2014. The SSP claimed that the suspect received Rs7.5 million as ransom for Asif’s release. Later, he also accused Sharjeel of pressurising him for the release of Bashir, and, subsequently, for his removal from the charge.

On Saturday, the Hyderabad police obtained custody of Bashir, registered an FIR on the state’s complaint against unidentified persons at Hatri police station and produced Bashir before an anti-terrorism court (ATC). The ATC handed over the suspect on a 15-day physical remand to the police.

“We approached Dr Asif’s family to register the case but they declined,” said Hyderabad SSP Irfan Baloch.

On the other hand, Khalid said that he did not know Brohi. “I heard his name for the first time on the new channels two days ago,” he said.

SSP Baloch informed The Express Tribune that the home minister has formed a five-member investigation team, headed by DIG Hyderabad Khadim Rind, and comprising the SSPs of Jamshoro, Matiari and Badin districts and himself to look into the matter.

Twists and turns

SSP Sarhindi was the Hyderabad police chief when Asif was kidnapped. Asif works for the population welfare department and is also a builder. He was released reportedly after a ransom payment on January 13 when the sitting SSP Baloch was head of the Hyderabad police. But the arrest of the suspect comes around eight months after his release and that, too, by the Thatta police.

“Sarhindi detained [Bashir] Brohi on Wednesday [September 2] night and leaked the news to the media of his arrest and alleged connection with Sharjeel Memon on Thursday morning,” a source close to SSP Baloch told The Express Tribune. “But he informed the Hyderabad SSP about it at around 3pm or 4pm the next day.”

The source also claimed that Bashir’s role was one of an intermediary who was approached by all – the family, Sarhindi and Sharjeel. “Pir Farid [Sarhindi] and his (Dr Asif’s) family were the first to approach [Bashir] Brohi because they thought the Brohi community might play some role to influence Iqbal Brohi. And this is something that happens in all the kidnapping cases when the police fail to recover a kidnapped person.” Iqbal leads a kidnapping gang and carries head money on him.

Although Sarhindi denies his involvement in the process of negotiations with the kidnappers, he admits that the suspect, Bashir, is an old acquaintance who he appointed as a police constable several years ago. “The question here is, what suddenly prompted Sarhindi to arrest Bashir after eight months and link him to Sharjeel?” wondered the source.

When Sarhindi was posted in Hyderabad, former DIG Sanaullah Abbassi criticised his performance. On his recommendation, the transfer and posting powers of the SHOs in the police stations were delegated from the SSP to the two SPs of City and Latifabad talukas and Qasimabad and Rural talukas. However, after replacing Sarhindi, Baloch was given back this authority.

Relatives and police sources said that Iqbal had initially demanded Rs25 million as ransom but later settled for less.

According to Baloch, Bashir is not nominated in any criminal case in the district. “Our investigations link Iqbal Brohi [in the kidnapping], whom we haven’t arrested so far,” said SSP Baloch. “But Bashir’s name never came up, even from the aggrieved family’s side.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th,  2015.

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