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Cover-up bid in young woman’s murder case

KARACHI, March 16: A blood-stained tile, a piece of evidence incriminating a suspect in the murder case of a young woman, has been replaced with a fresh one allegedly at the Chemical Examiner’s office, whose report is also stated to be ambiguous and misleading.

A 25-year-old housewife, Hina, wife of Najamur Rehman, was stabbed to death allegedly by a relative after he failed to rape her due to the stiff resistance put up by the victim. The incident occurred on March 20, 2006 and subsequently an FIR (98/2006) was registered under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station.

Police said the accused, who was later identified as Syed Yasir Hussain, a relative of the family, came to the apartment when Najamur Rehman was away at work. At the time of the incident, the victim’s three-and-half-year-old son, Maaz-ur-Rehman, was at home and the lone witness to the murder of her mother.

The boy, who was crying at the time of the incident, had suffered an injury on his ear when the accused, Yasir, pushed him aside while fleeing from the crime scene, police said.

Describing the incident, an investigator associated with the case told Dawn that coinciding with the timing of the murder, a housemaid came at the door and started ringing the doorbell.

Getting further nervous with the presence at the door, the accused rushed into the washroom of the bedroom where he had stabbed Hina, police said, adding that he washed his hands in the washbasin and also put off his white T-shirt as it was soaked in blood. He put on his helmet and ran out of the apartment. Seeing this, the maid rushed in, saw her lady lying in a pool of blood with the boy crying nearby. She reported the matter to the family’s relatives living on the ground floor of the same building.

While recording her statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Afshan Jabeen, a relative of Hina Najam’s, said the maid informed her about the incident. When she went up into their apartment, Hina was writhing in the bedroom. Upon inquiry, she said that Yasir had done that to her.

Meanwhile, Afshan’s husband also arrived there and took Hina to the Ibn-i-Sina Hospital, from where she was referred to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Nearly 24 hours after the incident, police arrested Syed Yasir Hussain. His medico-legal examination was conducted at the JPMC. The examination suggested that the accused had suffered several injuries on the hands and arms and there were stitches on his two figures, police said.

Three-and-half-year-old Maaz recorded his statement before a magistrate under Section 161 of the CrPC. Four questions were asked of Maaz: “What is your name?” “Maaz”. “Son, who killed your mother?” “Yasir killed her with a knife.” “What happened then?” “Yasir ran away.” “Son, how did you sustain the injury on your ear?” “Yasir had pushed me.”

At a subsequent stage of the trial, the judge conducted an identification parade in which Yasir was presented before Maaz among a group of 15. Maaz pointed his finger at Yasir, investigators told Dawn.

As part of the circumstantial evidence investigators secured two tiles from the washroom where the accused had washed his hands. Blood stains were visible on the floor of the washroom. Police carved out two tiles, sent them to the office of the Chemical Examiner with a request that one tile be returned as it had to be sent for a DNA test to Islamabad for strengthening the case.

However, investigators told Dawn, officials at the Chemical Lab refused to hand over the tile the same day, saying that it could be collected the next day.

Investigators said that the next day the examiner office returned a tile after sealing it. That tile was a new one and had groves on its back unlike the original one which was quite heavy with cement plastered on its back.

As if it was not enough, the report issued by the office of the Chemical Examiner to the government of Sindh, Dr Jalil Qadri, came as another surprise to the investigators, who could not make out anything of the report.

Investigators said they had submitted 10 articles (pieces of evidence), including Hina’s clothes, in parcel 1, a multi-colour printed bed sheet with a multi-colour printed pillow cover, parcel no 2, a white T-shirt and a knife with black plastic handle, parcel no 3, two white tiles, parcel 4, a blood sample of Syed Yasir Husain and vaginal swab of Hina’s.

The result of the chemical analysis said “Articles one to 10 noted above are stained with human blood of group AB.” Article 11, a sample blood of Syed Yasir Hussain, stating that “is human blood of group AB”. “Human sperm not detected in article No 12, (vaginal swab of the victim).”The vague result of the ‘chemical analysis’ did not clarify its indirect suggestion that the blood group of the deceased and the accused was of the same group.

If findings were such, they should have been clarified in the report, a forensic expert told Dawn.

Following the issuance of the manipulated report, as described by a senior investigator, police contacted the husband of the deceased to inquire if they had not washed the washroom of the apartment.

Fortunately, as put by investigators, Najamur Rehman had shifted to his parents’ home with his young son, the prime witness, locking the apartment the way it was found on the tragic day.

Police in the presence of a magistrate for a second time carved out tiles from the washroom.

After going through with the procedures, investigators obtained the blood of the accused, who is in jail.

Subsequently, both the tiles and blood samples were sent to the National Forensic Science Agency (DNA laboratory), Islamabad.

The report concluded that the DNA profile obtained from one white floor tile having blood stains and one cotton gauze pad having blood stains of the accused matched with the anticoagulant tube filled with blood of accused Yasir Hussain.In a sharp contrast to the result, the chemical analysis report issued by the Chemical Examiner simply stated that “Articles one to 10 noted above are stained with human blood of group “AB”.
Source: Dawn

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