Karachi: Nineteen years after the killing of managing director of the then Karachi Electric Supply Corporation Shahid Hamid, his widow and son picked out a suspect as one of the four hitmen during an identification parade held before a judicial magistrate on Saturday.
The suspect — Muhammad Minhaj Qazi alias Asad — along with his accomplices has been booked in a case pertaining to the July 5, 1997 killing of the then KESC MD, his driver and a guard in the Defence Housing Authority.
An antiterrorism court had already sentenced Muttahida Qaumi Movement worker Saulat Ali Khan, better known as Saulat Mirza, to death in 1999 in this case and he was executed in Machh jail in Balochistan on May 12, 2015.
On Saturday, police brought the suspect to the city courts amid strict security. After completing legal formalities, Judicial Magistrate (south) Anees Rehman Buriro conducted the identification parade.
Former bureaucrat Shahnaz Hamid, the widow, and her police officer son, Omar Shahid Hamid, were the eyewitnesses and they picked out the suspect during the parade.
While assigning the suspect’s role in the commissioning of the alleged offence, both witnesses deposed that he was one of the four hitmen who carried out the killing.
In their statements recorded under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code, the two witnesses said that on July 5, 1997 they heard gunshots shortly after the elder Hamid left his house for office. The moment they came out, they saw four men firing at the car with Kalashnikov assault rifles, they added.
The mother and son said in their statements that they had also identified Saulat Mirza, who had been executed on May 12, 2015, as one of the shooters.
The eyewitnesses recalled that Mr Hamid was working against corruption and reorganising the power utility, but some people were against his efforts.
They deposed that at that time the Muttahida Qaumi Movement had a dominant role in the KESC. Representatives of the union along with some MQM ministers had teamed up against the slain MD.
They said MQM’s Dr Farooq Sattar, Waseem Akhtar, Nasreen Jalil and her husband had extended threats to Mr Hamid. Dr Sattar, Mr Akhtar and Shoaib Bukhari had also insulted him during a meeting at Chief Minister House, they added.
Ms Hamid claimed that they wanted to remove her husband from the post as they considered him a risk. Then he was assassinated, she added.
During the identification parade, suspect Qazi informed the magistrate that he had been subjected to torture.
He said that he was not even allowed to change his clothes since his detention in February.
He also contested the identification parade and said that his photographs were being showed on private TV channels almost on a daily basis and anyone could easily identify him. However, the magistrate interrupted him and told him that he was merely recording the witnesses’ statements and he [the suspect] could raise this issue before the trial court.
On Feb 3, 2016, Rangers picked up Minhaj Qazi and placed him under 90-day preventive detention for an inquiry over his alleged involvement in terrorism cases. Later, he was handed over to police and the investigation officer formally arrested him in the Shahid Hamid murder case and obtained his remand from an ATC.
According to the prosecution, the then SHO of Gulbahar police station, Mohammad Aslam Khan better known as Chaudhry Aslam, arrested Saulat Mirza in December 1998 at Karachi airport. During investigation, Mirza confessed to having killed the former KESC chief and named his accomplices.
The prosecution alleged that the offence was carried out to avenge the removal of MQM supporters from the KESC by the then MD.