ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday arrested a most wanted criminal Zafar Iqbal for his alleged involvement in the brutal murder of his British wife.
He was a prime suspect of homicide committed in August, 2001 in south London where he strangled his estranged wife Naziat Khan in front of their three daughters.
The Scotland Yard had put his name in a list of 10 most wanted criminals for years but they could not catch him up because he successfully managed to escape from UK and fled to Pakistan soon after the incident.
He left four children, including three daughters behind in UK, in front of whom he allegedly killed their mother. They are witnesses in the case as they were in the room when their mother was strangled.
Zafar Iqbal went to UK after an arrange marriage with Naziat Khan but throughout the marriage, the family claimed Naziat was regularly beaten by her husband. Resultantly, she had been asking him for a divorce and even he was not living with his family at the time of murder.
British police and the family of deceased women were of the view that the motive behind killing was nothing more than anger over Naziat’s demand for a divorce.
The government of Pakistan had issued arrest warrants for Zafar Iqbal in March 2016 after a number of screaming requests were lodged by his daughters before British and Pakistani authorities.
Islamabad additional deputy commissioner (general) was made as the inquiry magistrate in the said case, who had mandated the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), FIA to arrest the suspect but the unit failed to act upon.
In November 2017, the case was transferred to the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell, which arrested Zafar Iqbal from an urban locality, Gulistan Colony, situated in Rawalpindi district.
Sources in FIA informed Daily Times that in his statement, Zafar Iqbal denied charges levelled against him and declared the killing an accident during a scuffle with her wife. The arrested criminal was presented before the inquiry magistrate on Tuesday, who ordered authorities concerned to transfer him to Central Jail, Rawalpindi on a 14 days judicial remand.
Though, this high profile accused had been arrested, it was yet to be decided that whether he would be extradited to UK or not. According to the provisions of extradition act 1972, only the federal government can take a decision in this regard.
However, in a recent past, a fugitive, Muhammad Zubair, was extradited to UK in May, 2016 by a special flight. It is most likely that Zafar Iqbal will also be handed over to the UK as the British High Commission in Pakistan is actively pursuing the matter.
Published in Daily Times, December 6th 2017.