After one of the accused in the Bisma Saleem and Dua Mangi kidnapping cases escaped police custody while being escorted to a shopping mall, two police personnel have been taken into custody. Zohaib Ali Qureshi, accused in the kidnappings from 2019, was reportedly taken by police from a court hearing to Karachi’s busy Dolmen Mall, from where he made good his escape on Thursday. CCTV footage from the shopping mall shows the accused Qureshi walking through the mall, and then making his way out from the security exit of the mall.
As the footage circulated on social media, it drew further criticism on police leniency with suspects in high-profile criminal cases in Sindh. Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah ordered the suspension of SSP Courts Azam Durrani. Moreover, Ferozabad police have lodged an FIR against court police constable Habib Zafar and head constable Mohammed Naveed for alleged negligence.
Authorities quote constable Naveed as saying that the accused in the kidnappings had appeared before the civil and judicial magistrate (East) at the City Courts on that day, with the date for his next hearing (9 February) having been set. Thereafter, he told the police that he “wanted to shop.” The constable in custody further described how he had travelled with Qureshi to Dolmen Mall on Tariq Road in a private vehicle. In the version of the constable, Qureshi went into the mall but “fled after deceiving” him. He described his “relationship of trust” with the accused, which had led to him taking him to the mall for shopping, and that he did not expect Qureshi to “betray” him in this manner.
Constable Naveed was arrested from Dolmen Mall, whereas Zafar was arrested from the jail.
The Chief Minister has directed the Sindh inspector general of police and home secretary to ensure strict action in the case, including the re-arrest of the fugitive accused Qureshi.