- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
Convicted Of Murder
- 21 Oct - 27 Oct, 2017
'So this means they were sent by Shehzad,” Inspector Arbaz claimed.
“Yes, they confused us on purpose.”
“But didn’t you…” I curiously asked Inspector Arbaz, “I mean didn’t you investigate her identity further?”
“I found her fake CNIC card’s photocopy and a selfie with Shehzad. I was convinced that she was Amna but I was wrong.”
“Oh… so what about the real Amna Mughal? Where is she?”
“Well… that’s the real issue now. Do you remember the girl who was living in a bungalow as Amna?”
“Yes, the fake Amna?”
“So here’s a fact. She’s the real Amna and sadly, she’s with Shehzad. And we have to rescue her by all means.”
“Rescue her?” I got a bit worried. “Is she in danger?”
“Not that we know of, but as long as she is with that killer, she can be in danger.”
“Yesterday, I saw her with Shehzad in that bungalow,” the constable added.
“But wait, I’m confused,” I was trying to figure out some answers, “does Shehzad know that Azhar has been rescued? And secondly, how come the real Amna doesn’t know about all of this? Isn’t she watching news? Hasn’t she contacted you, Azhar?”
“Shehzad thinks that Azhar has escaped,” the constable said, “my team has been following him, from his reactions and words we believe that he does not know that the police has rescued him.”
“So what does he think?”
“He thinks some ordinary men or civilians have helped him escape.”
“We haven’t arrested him because we don’t want him to find out that the police is aware of his actions, or else he might retaliate. We’re playing with motives,” Inspector Arbaz said.
“Playing with motives,” I repeated. “Well that’s what he did. He knew about the siblings’ conflict and used it for his crime. He used Azhar’s possible motive. For so long, he has been fooling us with that.”
For a while, there was a silence in the room.
“But my questions have not been answered,” I broke the silence, “I mean why doesn’t Amna know about the media frenzy that took place earlier.”
“My sister Amna,” Azhar began speaking, “was never interested in all of this. News and updates have never been her concern. She is only interested in movies and songs. She hardly uses her Facebook account.”
“But what about her friends? Didn’t they ever try to reach her or inform her?”
Inspector Arbaz interrupts to explain. “According to me, either Shehzad has taken away all her cell phones and internet access, or her friends never contacted her because they thought she’s dead.”
“I see.” My mind was much clearer now.
We all had supper at Inspector Arbaz’s home. After I was done with my food, I asked the Inspector.
“So what are you going to do next?”
“We’re going to call Shehzad,” he responded, “actually it won’t be a call from us, it will be a call from Azhar. We’ll just hear him out, see what he wants. And then Azhar will follow his instructions.”
“And why are we doing all this? Are we going to rescue Amna or are we trying to figure out Shehzad’s plan?” I ask Inspector Arbaz.
“Both,” he answered.
“There’s a problem Inspector,” Azhar added while eating, “how are we going to convict him of murder, even after my sister is rescued?”
“Your testimony,” Inspector replied smartly. “You will tell in court about everything that happened.”
“Will they believe me? What if he brings several other fake witnesses? And besides, we don’t have any evidence such as murder weapon or his footprints.”
Inspector Arbaz gave it a thought and said.
“You guys relax, I will handle the situation. If we can’t get him to the court, we’ll take justice in our own hands… just let me get Amna in our custody first.”
“So when should I come?” I asked.
“Tomorrow morning,” Inspector instructed, “we’ll make a call and then follow him.”
“Okay,” I stood up.
Before leaving, I looked at Azhar and shook hands with him saying, “I’m glad you didn’t betray me.”
“I’m glad we can still be friends,” he replied with a smile.
Next morning, Inspector Arbaz, constable Ahsan, Azhar and I were standing on a footpath outside Mr Arbaz’s house. We were doing everything according to his commands. He had instructed Azhar to make a call. Azhar dialled Shehzad’s number and left the loudspeaker on. Eventually, Shehzad answered the call.
“It’s me Azhar,” Azhar spoke.
“Azhar… hi! how are you?”
We all got surprised on his reaction. Inspector Arbaz understood why he reacted this way.
“Where is Amna?” Azhar asked Shehzad, as per the instructions.
“She’s at home,” he replied calmly.
“And where are you?”
There was no answer from the other line.
“Where are you?” Azhar repeated.
And again there was no answer from the other line.
Inspector Arbaz took the cell phone and disconnected the call.
“He knows we’re listening,” Inspector Arbaz explained, “he is smart enough to act accordingly.”
“How can you be so sure?” I asked.
“Every criminal is smart enough to assume,” the constable answered, “especially during these situations”
“Okay, now you’ll do exactly what I tell you to do,” Inspector Arbaz told Azhar, and he obeyed.
That evening, around six o’ clock, Azhar visited the bungalow where Amna was staying. The door was opened by Shehzad and Azhar felt really scared. Instead of looking at Azhar, Shehzad looked around carefully, for he was concerned about the cops that might have come along.
“Where are they?” he asked Azhar.
“Who?” Azhar pretended.
“They are about to come. I’ll let you escape and I will lie to them. Just let Amna go.”
“Come inside.” Shehzad invited Azhar inside his house.
A minute later, as Azhar entered the room where his sister was seated, he felt relieved to see her safe and alive. Amna stood up looking at her brother.
“How are you my dear?” Azhar said in a concerned tone.
“I’m good,” she smiled.
Shehzad stood between them and looked at Amna.
“Amna, would you please go to another room? We need to talk,” he said.
She felt weird but left the room.
As soon as she left, Shehzad cunningly asked Azhar to hand his cell phone over to him.
Azhar felt really uncomfortable and said, “Look, I can’t.”
Shehzad forcefully took it out of his pocket and threw it badly on the floor. Azhar got terrified looking at his shattered cell phone.
“I can do this to your sister,” Shehzad spoke in anger.
Azhar looked at him with fear in his eyes.
“Sit down!” Shehzad ordered.
Azhar sat on a couch behind him and didn’t move.
“My plan was…” Shehzad began, “all about money. In fact, everything that I have done in my life was for the sake of money. I married a non-Muslim girl before Amna. Her life insurance was granting me great amount of money. After marrying Amna…” Shehzad stopped speaking and looked carefully at Azhar’s chest and asked him to unbutton his shirt.
“What?” Azhar got panicked.
“I said, open the buttons of your shirt!”
Azhar opened two buttons slowly and said, “It’s not what you think.”
Some wire was attached to Azhar’s chest that was leading to his back pocket.
“You’re recording my words,” he said in an angry yet calm manner. “Stand up!”
Azhar stood up fearfully and cooperated by handing over the device in his pocket to Shehzad. Angry Shehzad snatched it and threw it very badly on the wall. The device broke into pieces.
“Whom were you planning to give that tape to?” he asked Azhar. “The cops?”
“Uh… No” Azhar answered in conufsion.
Shehzad was just getting angrier and angrier.
In the meantime, Amna came by the room and stood near the door secretly overhearing their conversation.
“Look, I’m offering you something against your sister’s life,” Shehzad told him raising his voice. “If you’ll involve the police, I swear I’m going to kill her. Just the way I killed my first wife.”
Amna got badly shocked listening to this.
“That girl was your wife?” Azhar reconfirmed.
“Yes, if I can kill my first wife Katy for the sake of money then I can definitely kill the second one. And she is granting me even more money. Because according to your parent’s will, you get nothing. Your sister and I got the entire property. My plan, initially, was to kill her as well. But now I’m offering you a deal. You change your statement with the cops and I will spare your sister’s life.”
“I don’t trust you.”
“I am a good manipulator. I fooled my ex-wife and killed her framing your friend Umer. And then after abducting you, my plan was to kill you and Amna both once inheriting the property and business. I kept Amna away from news and current affairs due to which she never understood what was going on. My point is, I can do this again, and you just have to cooperate with me if you don’t want your sister to die.”
Amna’s eyes were filled with tears.
The doorbell rang. Shehzad smiled.
“It’s the cops. I knew you’d bring them along.”
“If I change my statement, you will let Amna go, promise?”
Saying this he walked towards the gate to answer it.
As Shehzad unlocked the gate, someone from outside pushed the door open. It was so hard that Shehzad’s face got hit and the almost fell backwards. The constable entered inside and held him tightly. Inspector Arbaz and I entered after him. We looked at the criminal who was actually smiling.
“Where is Amna?” Inspector Arbaz asked.
“She’s fine, she’s inside.”
Shehzad was handcuffed immediately. He was being dragged inside. Inspector and I were also going inside.
Inside the house, Azhar was standing quite frightened. Seeing Azhar’s face, Shehzad understood that Azhar won’t cooperate with him so he just looked at Inspector Arbaz and asked in an over-smart way.
“Alright, according to you guys I’m a criminal who has murdered a woman. Okay, now let me ask you something technical. What evidence do you have? How are you going to prove in court that I did murder someone?”
“Your voice…” Inspector Arbaz spoke, “was being recorded by Azhar. Azhar, show him the recorder.”
“Actually…” Shehzad cleared his throat trying to tease us, “you don’t know something. I’m sorry to tell you but the device has been broken already. You may ask him.”
I got really upset listening to this. We looked at Azhar and he said in a sad voice.
“So now…” Shehzad continued mocking, “according to the witnesses, it was Umer who entered inside the house and the handprints on the murder weapon also belong to Umer.”
I whispered to myself. Oh my God.
Inspector Arbaz was really worried now.
We all were worried until Amna showed up. She looked at Shehzad. Her eyes were filled with hatred.
“Your confession,” she spoke showing her cell phone.
A recording in Shehzad’s voice started playing in her cell phone.
I am a good manipulator. I fooled my ex-wife and killed her framing your friend Umer. And then after abducting you, my plan was to kill you and Amna both once inheriting the property and business.
Shehzad was speechless now. He was stunned realising his wife turned on him.
Azhar was so happy now. Even I was delighted as we had a strong evidence to convict him of murder.
First week of September
I was standing at the top of one of the tallest buildings in the city. It was early afternoon. My arms were folded and the wind was blowing. I was looking down at the roads and the cars. The world seemed so small from above here.
I closed my eyes and remembered what I went through four weeks back.
In flashback, I was standing on a witness box speaking with gestures. “I saw the gun. Not the murder weapon, but a gun. I picked it up.”
I opened my eyes. I looked around at the clouds then closed my eyes again remembering my session at the court.
“As I jumped outside,” Azhar was speaking while standing on the witness box, “I was hit on my head and then dragged towards the hi-roof.”
I opened my eyes and wondered. That day was memorable.
Azhar came and stood by me on my right hand side. He also looked at the clouds. I then remembered our previous days in court, where my uncle Asif, the lawyer, was speaking, “This voice you heard on cell phone’s recording was Shehzad’s voice and the words clearly indicate that he murdered his wife Katy and then was planning to murder his second wife Amna.”
I looked at Azhar who was feeling the same way as I was.
Turning back to look at the clouds, I remembered the judge’s verdict.
“Keeping in account all the evidences and words of the witnesses, the court has decided to sentence Shehzad to be hanged till death.”
That moment Shehzad closed his eyes with utmost regret and pain.
Today, while looking at my city, I remembered the look on Shehzad’s face and felt victorious. I asked Azhar, “How are you?”
“I’m good, I’m glad we won,” he answered.
“Thanks to your uncle”
“No Azhar, thanks to Inspector Arbaz. He was the one who worked really hard.”
“No doubt, he sure did.”
I looked around at the sky and then asked him.
“So how’s Amna?”
“She’s good. And she’s really sorry. She keeps apologising to me.”
“Oh, I understand that.”
“I’m grateful to her. After all, it was her cell phone’s recording that proved Shehzad was the killer.”
The dark episode of our life was over. There were good and bad outcomes. The bad outcomes included my controversial image in public and some traumatising memories that might last forever. The good outcomes included Azhar’s reconciliation with his sister and our strong friendship that grew with time.