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Pak court acquits man of Punjab-origin woman’s murder

The woman, a distant relative of former Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, had disappeared shortly after she arrived in Lahore in August, 2012 to attend a conference.

punjab Updated: Dec 11, 2017 15:39 IST
Press trust of India
Press trust of India
Press Trust of India, Lahore
Rajvindar Kaur Gill,Punjab NRIs,Pakistan news
Rajvindar Kaur Gill

A Pakistani court here has acquitted a man allegedly involved in the kidnap-cum-murder of an Indian-Canadian businesswoman.

Additional district and sessions Lahore judge Irfan Basra on Saturday acquitted Hafiz Shahzad in the murder of Rajvindar Kaur Gill after the prosecution failed to establish the charges against him. The court gave the suspect “benefit of the doubt.”

Kaur, a distant relative of former Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, had disappeared shortly after she arrived in Lahore in August, 2012 to attend a conference.

Lahore police had registered a murder case against Hafiz Shahzad, Shahid Ghazanfar alias Karishna Roy and some unidentified accused on the complaint of the woman victim’s father.

According to the FIR, Kaur reached Lahore from Canada on August 25, 2012 and also confirmed her arrival to the family over telephone. When she reached Lahore she had Canadian passport, cash, a laptop, gold ornaments and other valuables.

The complainant said Kaur was in regular contact with Shahid Ghazanfar alias Karishna Roy, Hafiz Shahzad and others. Ghazanfar in connivance with Shahzad and other accomplices kidnapped her to rob her of money and later killed her, the complainant said.

Sikandar Singh Gill’s counsel Aftab Ahmad Bajwa said the accused had made a confession before the magistrate that he and other accomplices had killed Kaur over monetary matter and thrown her body into Khanpur canal on Sheikhupura Road (some 50-km from Lahore) the day she reached Lahore.

“We will challenge the acquittal in the Lahore high court as police have enough evidence against the accused,” advocate Bajwa said.

Ghazanfar who managed to leave Pakistan after allegedly committing the crime is reportedly facing trial in Canada.

“My daughter had fallen in love with a man who introduced him to her as Krishna based in Lahore on Facebook. Primarily, she went to Lahore to meet Krishna,” said her father Sikandar Singh Gill.

Her case was taken up by Sukhbir Badal with chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab Shahbaz Sharif , after Singh sought his intervention.

In a letter to Badal, which he handed over to Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif on his Lahore visit the same year, Singh had stated: “I served the Indian Air Force before I moved to Canada 13 years ago. My other family members including Ravindar Kaur who is in her 30s also joined me in 2007.”

“My daughter then moved to Switzerland after she got a job in a bank in Zurich. She went to Lahore to attend a conference in August 2012 and remained in touch with me for few days. She also went to Gurdawar Janamasthan, Nankana Sahib. She told me that she was going to meet a journalist ‘Iqbal Hussain of News One’, before we lost contact with her.”

“Dear Brother! Since I know you have strong relations with the Pakistan Punjab chief minister and we are optimistic that she will be brought to home safely.”

After learning this Sharif got into action and ordered the authorities concerned to arrest the culprits.

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 19:20 IST