Journalist couple consumed by crime of passion
ISLAMABAD, April 30: A senior journalist and his estranged journalist wife were found shot dead in a flat here on Wednesday morning.
Police described it as a case of murder-and-suicide in which wife Saira Khan, 21, shot Khalil Malik, 62, dead and then turned the gun on herself in their flat in PHA complex in Sector G-8/4.
Ms Saira was a reporter for TVOne channel and Mr Khalil had served as media manager in the administrations of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Shaukat Aziz.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik has directed the Inspector-General of Police to constitute a team of competent officers to investigate the tragic incident and submit a report within 24 hours.
He expressed his condolence with Khushnood Ali Khan, over the sad demise of his brother.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry Rehman expressed sorrow over the incident and urged the media not to speculate about the incident and wait for the investigation report. She went to Pims mortuary where the postmortems were carried out. She assured the mother of the Saira Khan that justice will be done to her family
Colleagues of the couple said Mr Malik had taken Saira as his third wife in January 2007 and put her in one room of the flat which he used as office of his media consultancy firm and Shoora magazine.
Some three months back Mr Malik divorced her and she left the flat. On Wednesday morning she arrived at the flat and called Mr Malik there too.
Once they were inside the room the door was bolted from inside and around 9:50am two shots rang out, according to the office workers.
Police called by them broke down the door and found the two lying dead in a pool of blood and a 30-bore local made pistol, with two empty cartridges and three bullets close to the body of Ms Saira.
Postmortems carried out in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) determined that a bullet fired from close range, a little more than one metre, had gone through Mr Malik’s chest rupturing his heart and one lung.
Ms Saira had a bullet wound in her temple.
Their bodies were handed to family members. Mr Malik’s body was taken to Talagang and Saira’s to Shankila Hazro in Attock for burial.
Police sources said the couple had been quarrelling for some months. They had filed complaints five times against each other with the Rescue-115 and the Margalla police.
In his complaint Mr Malik informed the police on March 30 that Saira had climbed to the roof of a building and threatening to jump off to commit suicide.
Colleagues of the couple said their relations had strained extremely after the divorce. Reconciliation efforts of the couple were dashed when clerics of Lal Masjid declared the divorce was final and indissoluble.
But a colleague of Saima at TVOne channel, where she worked as a reporter, said she sounded quite cheerful in telling him on Tuesday that a Mufti in Karachi had told her the divorce was ”invalid”.
An assignment editor at the channel said he asked her at 9:15am on Wednesday to go to the Senate for coverage and she promised to be there at 10am.
But minutes before that hour she herself became news.
“She was normal, in fact happy, until 9:15am. What seized her in the next 30 minutes to take the extreme step, I can’t say,” one of her colleagues said.
Police learnt from preliminary investigations that Ms Saira came from a lower middle class family and had married Mr Malik without informing her family.
She was the third wife of Mr Malik. His first wife lives in G-11/3 and the second in a block of PHA flats separate from where he had his office and kept the third one.
Mr Malik started his career in 1968 from Musawat newspaper. After working for different newspapers he went to Kuwait and came back to Pakistan when the first Gulf war erupted.
Upon his return he joined the daily Markaz in 1993 as editor. The next year he joined Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s media centre. In 1997 he was appointed media consultant to PTCL and remained in that position till the overthrow of Nawaz Sharif government in 1999.