Friday Feb 02, 2018
KARACHI: Sindh Planning and Development Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani and his wife Fariha Razak Haroon were found dead Thursday at their home here in the city's Defence locality.
Members of the Bijarani family and officials of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) confirmed to Geo News that Bijarani and his wife were found dead at their home and had suffered gunshot wounds.
Soon after the incident was reported, a large number of law-enforcement personnel reached the residence and cordoned off the premises.
An investigation was subsequently launched into the deaths of Bijarani and his wife, with the police stating that this seems to be a very open case.
Authorities revealed that a statement from the guard — stationed at the door to the family's residence — offered further explanation.
The guard said he heard noises at 6:30 AM on Thursday morning, following which he heard what sounded like gunshots.
Bijarani and his wife lived on the first floor, where none of the servants was allowed to go by themselves. "Mir sahib always used to open the door to fetch the newspaper," the servant said, as per the authorities.
After the ruckus, the guard noted that he woke up a servant but said they waited for the minister to open the door until 10:30 AM, which is when his son was called.
Upon the son's arrival, the door was opened to the bodies lying near the bathroom of the study room; Bijarani's body was on the sofa, with a pistol lying near his legs, while that of his wife was on the floor, a few feet away.
The minister was shot at in the temple from a very close range.
Both Bijarani and his wife were wearing nightdresses when their bodies were recovered, authorities said, adding that there was no sign of struggle either.
Police said they are waiting for the fingerprints and forensics report as well as the complete post-mortem, after which an official statement will be released to the media as a press note.
Bijarani was shot once, while four misfired bullets were found at the scene, Raja Umer Khitab — the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in-charge — said earlier in the day.
The senior police official also confirmed that a weapon had been recovered and that the bodies were found in the study room adjacent to the family's bedroom.
"We can not give an opinion regarding the case yet. We have our forensic team and senior officers present on the site," Khitab added.
Sources added that one of the misfired bullets was still stuck in the breech of the weapon, which belonged to Bijarani.
On his visit to the premises, A.D. Khawaja — the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) for Sindh — said police had taken custody of the recordings from the closed circuit television (CCTV) camera; however, he added that all the cameras were placed on the exterior of the premises.
Police took three members of the domestic staff — including a woman — and two guards into their custody for investigation. Those taken into custody include Bijarani's cook, driver, and the driver's wife, the sources said.
Police officials said the domestic staff ran to the upper floor after shots were heard, after which the staff informed MNA Mir Shabbir Ali Bijarani — the minister's son.
The staff also informed the police that Bijarani's son was the first to go into the room after entering the residence from its back door.
A medical board — headed by Dr Seemi Jamali of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) — was formed to conduct a post-mortem on the bodies.
Dr Jamali confirmed that the couple was brought dead to the hospital, with the provincial minister having suffered a single gunshot wound to the temple.
The post-mortem of the minister and his wife was completed late Thursday evening and Bijarani's body was shifted Sukkur after medico-legal formalities.
Initial details from the post-mortem stated that Bijarani suffered a single gunshot wound to the temple from close distance, with gunshot residue visible around the entry wound. His wife suffered three gunshots; one to the temple and two others on her stomach.
Family members, Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah, and senior government and party officials reached the house after the incident.
Nasir Shah — the Minister of Information for Sindh — said Bijarani, despite his status as a minister and the head of his tribe, did not prefer protocol and security.
"Bijarani always led a very simple and low-profile life.”
The provincial information minister added that those responsible for the murder will be caught and brought to justice.
A forensic team reached the residence and collected evidence. Inquiries were also conducted over who was present at the house.
Bijarani was born on July 10, 1946, in Karampur, Sindh, and belonged to a family that was prominent in the PPP as well as Sindh politics. He completed his Bachelors from National College Karachi, later doing his MA in political science and LLB from Sindh Muslim Law College.
In 2013, Bijarani was elected from the PS-16 constituency of Jacobabad-Kashmore. He also represented the constituency in 1974 and 1977.
In the past, he had also served as a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) from 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 2013. In 1988, he served in the Senate.
Fariha Razak Haroon was a well-known journalist who had served as Director of Public Relations with the Jang Group. She was also a Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) in Sindh from 2002-2007.
The PPP suspended political activities and announced a three-day mourning period as condolences poured in on Twitter following the death of Bijarani and Fariha Razak.
While expressing grief and shock over the deaths, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari — the party's chairman — ordered CM Shah to submit a report, while former president Asif Ali Zardari also expressed his condolences.
The PPP chairman said Bijarani was a senior PPP leader and an asset to the party, and termed his death as a great loss for the PPP.
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari said she was shocked and horrified by the tragic news.
PPP MNA Nafisa Shah said this was a big tragedy for both the family and the party.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he was deeply shocked.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Dr Arif Alvi said Bijarani and his wife were friends who he had met for lunch on Saturday.