LAHORE: Police registered on Sunday a case about the murder of a woman who was found dead in a room of the Federal Lodges called Chamba House in the Racecourse area late on Saturday.
Samia Chaudhry, 35, a resident of Islamabad, had been staying at the lodges since Nov 22. She had left Islamabad on Nov 20 for Shorkot in a car along with some PML-N workers to attend a political rally there. She checked into the lodges on Nov 22 and stayed in Room No 26 where she was found dead by a waiter.
The woman stayed at the lodges with the reference of Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf, an MNA from Sahiwal, since no one could stay there without a reference from a parliamentarian.
Racecourse police moved the body to a morgue for autopsy and later registered a murder case against unidentified person(s) on the complaint of her husband Asif Mehmood.
Talking to journalists, Mr Mehmood said he had last talked to his wife on Nov 24. He contacted the Chamba House on Nov 26 and was told that his wife had been found dead. He claimed that his wife was a relative of Chaudhry Ashraf.
The lawmaker told media personnel that Samia was a resident of his constituency (NA-161), but not his relative. He said she wanted to become a parliamentarian on a reserved seat.
“Sometimes people from the constituency say they are my relatives and I don’t stop them.”
Chaudhry Ashraf said that when the victim’s husband had called to inform him that he was unable to contact his wife, he had instructed his personal secretary to look for her.
He said his assistant had contacted the rest house and was told that she was found dead when the door of the room was opened.
PML-N worker Salonia Raza told reporters outside the morgue that it appeared that Samia had been poisoned to death.
The postmortem examination report suggested that there were no marks of torture on her body. However, doctors sent samples from the body to the Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain the cause of death.
Civil Lines Division Superintendent of Police Ali Raza told Dawn that police were trying to obtain CCTV footage of the Chamba House to check the routine of Samia and the people visiting her during her stay there. He said police were also waiting for forensic reports because the postmortem report was silent about the cause of death.
The officer said police would investigate all possible angles, including suicide and murder. No one had been taken into custody, he said, adding that Samia’s relatives had not nominated anyone in the case and described her as a political worker.
Police later said 10 employees of the Chamba House were taken into custody for interrogation.