Case seems to be open-and-shut but is still pending thanks to Pakistan’s weak justice system
Despite passage of three years, state unable to arrest the accused.
UAE expressed willingness to hand over the accused to Pakistan.
Daughter of victim says “Taqi Shah not only” accused in murder.
KARACHI: Around 15 years ago in 2008, a murder took place in Pakistan. After the murder, when the state failed to arrest the accused and he fled the country, the victim’s daughter, after a 12-year search, tracked down the killer through social media in 2020. She informed the Pakistani government about this, but despite the passage of three years, the state has been unable to arrest the accused.
This case is about the murder of the former regional chief of the State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC), Muhammad Ahmad Amjad, who was killed inside the office of the SLIC in 2008 by 10 bullets. And the accused in this case is Syed Taqi Haider Shah, former sales manager of the SLIC.
After reviewing the documents of the case, it seems to be an open and shut case, but due to the weak justice system of Pakistan, the case is pending till date and the absconding accused has not been arrested since 2008 despite the fact that the daughter of the deceased, Maham Amjad, who is associated with the real estate business in the UAE, found out the LinkedIn profile of the accused in 2020 by herself while searching on the internet and that the accused resides in the UAE. and she had started the necessary action in this regard. The UAE had also expressed its willingness to hand over the accused to Pakistan, but despite all these facts, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has been unable to make possible the handover of the accused from Dubai to Pakistan, because of which questions are being raised about the capabilities of the Pakistani mission in Dubai.
The daughter of the victim, who is currently living in Dubai, has claimed that “Taqi Shah was not the only one involved in my father’s murder, but it was a pre-planned murder in which other people were also involved and they do not want Taqi Shah to return to the country.” Maham Amjad added, “MoFA has not done anything in this case, and when I shared the copy of the extradition file sent by the Ministry of Interior of Pakistan with the Ministry of Justice of the UAE, they informed me that no such file has reached us.”
The final decision on the extent to which Maham Amjad’s allegations are true has to be taken by the courts. But while examining this case, details have come to light which are not only surprising but also raise serious questions on many people, and to understand the whole puzzle, we have to go back to 2008, a month before the murder of Muhammad Ahmad Amjad.
According to our investigation and research, it is clear from the July 2008 internal communication of the SLIC that despite the approval of everyone, Muhammad Ahmad Amjad was not signing Taqi Shah’s application for attachment with a new area manager, due to which Shah was unhappy and was putting pressure on Amjad. A month before his murder in August 2008, he had informed the then management of the company about his concerns regarding the threats to his life. But despite this no security was provided to the victim, and the accused Shah easily entered the office with weapons and fired 10 shots at his own regional chief.
It is important to note that in his letter dated August 7, 2008, Amjad wrote to the management of the SLIC, clearly stating that some persons at zonal level are inciting Shah for their personal interests. Nineteen days after the letter, Amjad was killed inside his office. After the incident, three employees of the company told the police at the time, claiming that the person who fired the shots at the victim was Shah, another company employee.
After the testimony of the employees, a murder case was registered in 2008 and Taqi’s non-bailable warrant was also issued, but the police could not arrest him because he had fled immediately after the murder, due to which on May 11, 2009, a sessions court of Karachi declared Shah an absconder. And then, on January 29, an additional sessions judge ordered putting the case in the dormant file until the Shah’s arrest.
For 12 years after the murder, nothing was found about the accused. Apparently, neither did the state show any interest nor, according to the family of the victim, did the SLIC show any interest in the case. The important thing is that at the time Amjad was killed, his daughter was only 15 years old, and since then she has been trying to trace the accused.
Five years ago, Maham Amjad shifted to the UAE and pursued a career in marketing and associated herself with the real estate business there. And little did she know that the killer was also living in Dubai at that time. But it is a famous saying that no matter how clever a criminal is, they always leave behind some evidence.
And that is exactly what happened. During her routine search in October 2020, Maham came across a LinkedIn profile, on which the name of accused Taqi Haider Shah was written, and interestingly, in that profile, Shah had mentioned his work experience at the SLIC. Here Maham found the accused involved in the murder of her father after 12 years, and she started legal proceedings in this regard in Pakistan to block Shah’s passport and identity card.
But in 2022, Taqi Haider Shah got a hint of this whole issue, and on November 2022 he released a video message sitting in the second holiest place of the Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Masjid Nabawi. In that message, he denied Ahmad Amjad’s murder but at the same time he continued to express his happiness about it. After this threatening video, Mahim Amjad filed a complaint with the Dubai authorities, and according to reports, the authorities there put Taqi Haider Shah on the no travel list at the end of 2022, and then Mahim Amjad had a red notice issued against Taqi Haider Shah with the help of court proceedings in Pakistan. After the red notice was issued, it was decided that Shah would be brought to Pakistan soon, but the conduct of the Pakistani authorities after these incidents is very surprising.
After the red notices were issued, the United Arab Emirates authorities arrested Shah in January 2023, and then Interpol UAE wrote a letter to the National Central Bureau of Pakistan in January 2023 and said: “Taqi Haider Shah has been arrested. The extradition file for his extradition to Pakistan should be provided within 30 days along with the Arabic translation of these documents with attestation.”
Then, when Pakistan submitted this file to the United Arab Emirates authorities in February 2023, on March 2, 2023, the Ministry of Justice of the UAE raised five objections to that file and returned it for the removal of the objections within 30 days for the handover of the accused.
When this file was returned, it circulated in different departments in Pakistan and the matter went on from March to May. On May 29, the Ministry of Interior once again cleared the objections and sent the extradition file to the Pakistani mission in Abu Dhabi, and once again this file was submitted to the authorities of the UAE, but the Ministry of Justice of the United Arab Emirates once again objected to this file and said it does not include the request of the central authority of Pakistan, i.e. the Ministry of Interior. And once again, this file reached the Ministry of Interior of Pakistan on July 2023. After that, a section officer of the Ministry of Interior, Maher Mahmudi, wrote a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan and the authorities of the United Arab Emirates on July 17, 2023, saying: “The document that the United Arab Emirates is demanding in July was sent by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 26 and a copy of it is being attached once again.”
But the surprising thing is that after the submission of this, the UAE once again objected the file and sent it back in August, but this time the same initial five objections were placed, which had been removed by the Ministry of Interior and sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 2023. After that on August 25, the section officer of the Ministry of Interior, Maher Mahmudi, wrote this letter at the official level, informing all parties: “All the documents required in this case have been handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some observations from the UAE are coming again despite providing all the documents, which is alarming. The Ministry of Interior has fulfilled all the requirements in this regard and all the observations of the UAE have also been dealt with, and now there is no reason anymore why this file should be sent again to the Ministry of Interior.”
After this response from the Ministry of Interior, on August 31 the extradition file of Taqi Shah was again sent from Pakistan to the UAE. And on September 6, the Pakistani mission in Dubai informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that there is no international arrest warrant in this file. After that on September 19, 2023, the Ministry of Interior replied in its government letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that “the warrant for the global arrest has already been shared with the United Arab Emirates and the red notice can also be accessed online”.
And after this whole situation, on October 23, Deputy Chief of Protocol of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gian Chand submitted a statement in the Sindh High Court, and the statement said: “Our mission is constantly contacting the authorities of the United Arab Emirates for the extradition of Syed Taqi Haider Shah. In this regard, a reminder was sent to them on October 11, and as soon as there is a response, the court will be informed about it.” At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had also informed the court that Taqi Haider Shah had not been arrested in Abu Dhabi nor had he been detained by the Dubai Police.
After the long struggle of the daughter of the deceased Ahmad Amjad, the issue of the extradition of the accused began in January, and after 11 months, it has not been resolved until December, and the family of the accused is alleging that this is being done deliberately and the extradition file is being tampered with by Pakistani authorities in the UAE.
On this whole matter, a source of the Ministry of Interior, who was associated with the case told us on the condition of anonymity that “the victim’s family has been wronged in this case. The UAE’s initial objections were valid and were resolved. After that, it was surprising to see the same objections being raised again and again.” The source further said: “During my posting, I have not seen such a case of extradition of the accused where the United Arab Emirates is repeatedly sending objections. I don’t know why this was happening but it was not a normal practice.”
We contacted the Foreign Office of Pakistan in this regard and sent them a questionnaire regarding the incomprehensible delay and the allegations of the victim’s family.
In reply, the spokesperson for the Foreign Office, Mumtaz Zehra Baloch, said: “Embassy’s task is to share the case with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for onward communication to the Ministry of Justice or Interior. The Embassy cannot make any changes in the documents received form the Ministry of Interior.
“The instant case was referred to the UAE government in February 2023. Following the submission of the original request, both the governments have remained engaged. We have provided all additional details to the UAE side to ensure that the extradition request is in line with the UAE laws.
“Allegations of fabrication of facts and tempering with extradition file are completely baseless as each document page of the Extradition file has been attested and stamped by the concerned law enforcement agency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the consular officer.
“The matter under discussion also pertains to a pending case before the honourable Sindh High Court. Our Embassy in UAE is following the instructions of the Court in letter and spirit.”
At the same time, we sent a questionnaire to the accused Taqi Haider Shah’s son, Zainul Abedin, but he did not give us any answer. Apart from this, the family of the victim claims that instead of helping them, the State Life Insurance Corporation has provided facilities to the accused and his family, and after accused Taqi Haider Shah escaped to the UAE, he has been going to the office of the State Life Insurance Corporation and also working for them. We contacted the State Life Insurance Pakistan and sent them a questionnaire, but they did not respond.