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Ramsha’s ‘killer’ evaded arrest for 20 years before police dared to lay hands on him

HYDERABAD: The influential Wassan community of Khairpur district, perhaps for the first time, is facing a police action against one of its members in the wake of the murder of a 13-year-old girl, Ramsha Wassan, a week ago.

How much clout the Wassans of Khairpur have been wielding could be gauged from the fact that the Khairpur police have never dared to touch the alleged killer, Zulfikar alias Zulfoo Wassan, though he had been nominated in some 20 cases of heinous crime registered against him over the last two decades.

Police sources said that until before Ramsha’s murder, Zulfoo was declared a proclaimed offender and had been in hiding with the help of some policemen.

The FIR of Ramsha’s murder was registered on behalf of the state and he and one of his associates, Ghaffar Wassan, have been arrested. Another two suspects are yet to be arrested on abetment charge.

Around one dozen suspects have been picked up by police in the murder case. Police have demolished three places — one said to be belonging to Zulfoo on his agricultural land, another one in the Haji Nawab Wassan area of Kot Diji and a third one in Kumb town — to force Zulfoo and his alleged associates in the crime to surrender before the police.

Ramsha’s mother had named Zulfoo and Ghaffar as the alleged killers. “Zulfoo is the prime suspect as he fired a burst to kill Ramsha in her house; she received nine bullets,” said Khairpur SSP Umer Tufail over phone.

Zulfoo was alleged to be a relative of those Wassans who are sitting in the elected houses but Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA from Khairpur Munawwar Wassan rejected the claim. “He is just our caste fellow … our opponents are linking him with us. The slain girl also belongs to our community,” he argued in his defence.

“Police were going to demolish Zulfoo’s shops as well. They had also picked up some women belonging to Zulfoo’s family,” said a source.

The Sindh chief minister had directed the Khairpur police to arrest culprits regardless of their political affiliation. His directives came when Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPAs raised the issue on the floor of the Sindh Assembly.

“In view of mounting pressure, the Wassans also cooperated with the police when the latter conducted a hunt for the suspects in their villages in Khairpur.

One of the detained suspects, Imtiaz Wassan, is cook of Fida Wassan, the brother of former provincial minister, Manzoor Wassan. Ramsha’s father, Pervez Wassan, is also a cook and serves an elder Wassan at his Karachi residence.

A former Khairpur police chief, Nasir Aftab, had once tried to lay hands on Zulfoo in 2014 but the suspect went into hiding in Sanghar and Dadu districts. Perhaps he surrendered himself before police during 2008-2009 period in some cases under some arrangement or understanding.

He was remanded in police custody for seven days by a judicial magistrate on Thursday.

Police succeeded in arresting Zulfoo by tracing his location with the help of his mobile phone data. He was found in Sorah, a desert area of Khairpur district bordering Sanghar.

According to the police, Zulfoo carried a head money of Rs500,000 as notified in April 2011 but he later obtained bail in several cases registered against him and eventually the notification was withdrawn.

According to MPA Munawwar Wassan, Ramsha had eloped with Izhar Wassan, who was already married and wanted to marry her but Ramsha’s family had turned down his proposal. “A village elder brought Ramsha back to her house to settle the issue but then Zulfoo murdered her,” the MPA said

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