ATC extends remand of journalist Aftab Alam’s murder suspect
Karachi: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday extended the remand of TV journalist Aftab Alam’s alleged killer, by 14 days.
Accused Zeeshan Haider, alleged to be a member of the outlawed Sipah-e-Mohammad Pakistan (SMP) was arrested on September 21 by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD). According to CTD Garden police headquarters SSP, Amir Farooqi, the accused was associated with the Raza Imam group of the SMP and that he had confessed to have killed Alam along with his aides, in the North Karachi area.
He was also alleged to have killed two brothers, Imran and Waqar, who were bakery employees a short while after they had murdered the journalist, in the same area.A 9mm pistol was also seized from the accused possession, Farooqui claimed. His group was also said to be involved in a gun attack on a roadside eatery, which claimed the lives of two people, last month.
He said Haider was an active member of a group of hit men who had targeted several people in recent days. According to the SSP, the activists had attacked Alam to create panic and fear, since targeting a journalist was to get them widespread media coverage.
“It benefited the banned sectarian group’s agenda since the victim (Alam) was associated with the rival school of thought – the Deobandi school of thought; and so were the two brothers.” The SSP believed the killings were also an attempt at expanding their extortion activities.
In his press conference, Farooqui had also stated that Haider and two other accomplices, Suleman Adeel and Shaji Ji, were all linked with the same outfit. They were also said to have been planning to kill a shop owner in Surjani Town and had also shot two other people on August 16.
Previously associated with the Geo News and the Samaa news channel, Alam was shot dead by gunmen outside his residence in North Karachi, on September 9. His death came hours after a DSNG van of the Geo News was attacked by gunmen in Bahadurabad area, killing senior satellite engineer Arshad Ali Jafri and injuring the driver.
According to DIG West Feroz Shah, the journalist was targeted outside his residence in 11-C area of North Karachi – minutes after he had dropped his children home from school.Shah said that according to initial reports, the incident appeared to have been properly planned as the two gunmen riding a motorcycle fired a single shot which hit Alam in the head – a signature method used by target killers.According to local media, Aftab Alam was rushed to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors had pronounced him dead following an external examination.