Pakistan: Dr. Zakia Zeba Abidi, brilliant feminist scholar, brutally murdered Print E-mail
Pakistan ~~ Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Missing professor’s body found

By Muhammad Azeem Samar (Read glowing tribute to Dr. Zakia Zeba Abidi HERE)

The body of an old woman found on the afternoon of January 29 within the jurisdiction of the Sachal Police Station was identified as that of retired University of Karachi (KU) professor, Dr Zakia Zeba Abidi.

She lived alone at A-30, Block 13-D, Gulishan-e-Iqbal, and had been missing since the morning of January 28, along with her driver, and his wife. Dr Abidi’s car (a Suzuki Cultus No. AGM-515) was also nowhere to be found.

Sachal Police Station ASI, Malik Akram, said that the body of an old woman was found near Sadaf Society close to the Super Highway, somewhere between 02:00 p.m. and 03:00 p.m. on January 29. It could not be identified at the time because acid had been thrown on the victim’s face and torso. This had presumably led to the victim’s death. The police said, however, that the possibility of torture could not be ruled out either. The autopsy was conducted at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), and the final report has been withheld until the chemical examination reports are received. The Sachal Police had lodged an FIR (No. 50/2008) under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on finding the body.

Meanwhile, on January 31, Dr Abidi’s nephew, Shahid Abbas, lodged an FIR (No. 55/2008) at the Gulishan-e-Iqbal Police. He held Dr Abidi’s driver, Shabbir, and his wife, Khalida, for the mysterious disappearance of his aunt. The FIR was lodged under Section 365 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

The investigating officer of the case at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station, Shahid Qureshi, said that Dr Abidi’s body was identified by Abbas through her clothes and photographs of the mutilated torso. Qureshi said that the police were still searching for Shabbir and Khalida. Dr Abidi’s car is also yet to be found. The police are currently clueless about the permanent residence or native district of the two accused, even though they had been living with the professor for some time now.

Qureshi further said that some neighbours of Dr Abidi’s had observed “suspicious activity” on the morning of January 28 when they saw Shabbir and his wife driving out in Dr Abidi’s car, with some luggage.

Inspector Dost Muhammad of the Gulishan-e-Iqbal Police Station said that an old TV set and an oven were missing from the house, while ornaments and saving certificates valued between Rs 0.3 million to Rs 0.4 million remained untouched.

It may be possible, Muhammad said, that some people other than the driver and his wife were also involved in the crime. Other police officials concerned also suggested that Dr Abidi owned some precious pieces of real estate in the area, and that may have been the motive behind her murder. Before her body was identified, the Edhi Trust had temporarily buried it at the Mawach Goth graveyard.

KU political science department chairperson, Prof. Dr Tanweer Khalid, who was also a colleague of Dr Abidi’s while she worked at the department, expressed sorrow over the professor’s tragic death. She said that Dr Abidi had obtained a PhD in political science from France and had retired from the university over 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, Karachi University Teachers’ Society (KUTS) secretary, Dr Abid Hasnain, demanded a thorough probe into the murder of Dr Abidi, who according to him had given the best years of her life to the cause of teaching at the University of Karachi.