By: Vaqas Asghar
ISLAMABAD: A woman was arrested by the Islamabad police on Sunday for her role in an acid attack on the branch manager of a private bank last Tuesday. The woman was arrested after two men already in custody named her as the person who paid them to throw acid at the victim.
In the evening on that fateful Tuesday, Murad Amir Shah, 29, was at home with his wife and two young children. A bell rang, and he went to the door. As he opened it, Naveed, a janitor who worked at Murad’s previous office stood before him. Before he knew, Naveed had doused Shah’s face with liquid from a small container. Naveed tried to run, but Shah quickly tackled him and saw his accomplice drive off.
Neighbours had come out to see where the commotion was coming from. Fortunately, an NGO that assists acid victims was located nearby. Staff from the NGO gave Shah immediate attention, before rushing him to hospital. Shocked and in a state of disbelief at what happened, his wife, Sakina Ahmed, called his sister in Lahore.
When his sister got to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Burn Care Centre, she was greeted by the sight of her younger brother’s bandaged body, the skin underneath blackened by the acid. Most of his right side — his face, arm, chest and leg, had been affected. He had third-degree burns on 25% of his body. But there was a silver lining — he would make it through.
Hospital staff and the victim’s relatives confirmed that Shah is in stable condition and should make a full recovery. However, the timeline for recovery will run into months, and the scarring on his body could take even longer.
While Shah recovers in hospital bed, the police investigation has been progressing. Naveed had been hired by Amir Basharat alias Rocky, who was the accomplice. Both men are residents of Hansa Colony in Sector G-8.
After being brought in by the police, Rocky gave up his paymaster, a woman named Samar. According to Investigation Officer Nusrat Ali of the Golra police, Samar Pervaiz was arrested in Islamabad on Sunday. Ali said Pervaiz and Shah knew each other, and the case seems to the result of spurned advances.
Shah’s brother-in-law was quick to note how thorough the police have been in handling the case and was full of praise for their performance, describing them as “extremely forthcoming, compassionate, and quick”.
When The Express Tribune spoke to Shah on Sunday, he readily admitted to having known Samar before he got married. “I lost touch after I got married. A while into my marriage, Samar tried to get in touch with me, but I refused. I had moved on in life and was happy.”
Samar, it would seem, had not moved forward. According to Shah’s own knowledge of the investigation, “Samar paid Rocky Rs35,000 to attack me. Rocky paid Naveed Rs10,000 and kept the rest.”
Neither Shah nor the police were sure whether the attack was meant to kill or maim, But Shah was confident the police would find out, and that his attackers would be punished. In the meantime, beyond the bandages, Shah still had his trademark wit. Peering over at a live tennis match from the Australian Open, he quipped, “At least my eyes and ears are fine. I can enjoy tennis while I’m here.”
Even though his vital organs and his base senses were not affected, the road to recovery is long. Shah contemplated the future on his hospital bed, wondering about the impact of the burns on his career, which depends on client interaction.
He worried about the impact his wounds were having on his widowed mother, and how she was dealing with the sight of her only son wrapped up in bandages. He was worried about the reaction he would get from his three-year-old daughter and thirteen-month old son.