a Soup After Student is Arrested for Murder
M A Siddiqui
May 22: Karachi police finally arrested an Aga Khan University
student on Saturday on murder charges after a court canceled his
bail in what has become the biggest cover-up scandal by any educational
institution in Pakistan, involving death of a 3rd year student
in September last year and expulsion of 10 others earlier this
son of a Rawalpindi retired Army Colonel, from whose hostel room
the body of 22-year old Assad Aftab, his class mate, was recovered,
is the main suspect while two of his other fellow students were
allowed by the Sessions Court to stay on bail in the case.
The Aga Khan University (AKU) was accused by Assad’s family
and a Doctors Group in Washington DC, of taking sides with the
accused students and covering up the murder by declaring it as
death by an overdose of heroin.
But when the case was highlighted by the Pakistani media, shortly
after South Asia Tribune ran a detailed investigative
story, the AKU took quick damage control action and nine students
were expelled from the University on charges of doing drugs on
In what was the biggest such mass action against students on any
campus in Pakistan, the AKU conceded that its campus had a major
drug problem but it failed to answer questions about Assad Aftab’s
murder and why AKU continued to portray it as a drug abuse death
instead of a plain murder for some other reason, possibly over
involvement with a female class fellow.
In not doing so, AKU allowed the three main accused in the death
case, Zeeshan, Kashif and Qazi Assad, to continue their studies
normally while it had been established that one of these accused
had even stolen and sold the mobile phone of the deceased student
shortly after the murder.
The AKU reluctance to treat the case as a murder and to take disciplinary
action against the accused at the University level, while police
investigations continued at a different level, angered the family
of Assad Aftab so much that they appealed to a group of doctors
in US to raise their case before the world public opinion.
The doctors took up it and when details were released to the media,
AKU suddenly jumped into action and claimed that they were helping
the police investigation in every way possible. But in fact the
Associate Dean for Students Affairs, Dr Arif Zaidi had been dragging
his feet and trying to cover up the murder as a simple case of
When contacted he even tried to mislead the South Asia Tribune
about details of the case and gave a skewed AKU version of the
story. His story did not corroborate with the police investigations
and left many questions unanswered.
During the 8-month period of delaying tactics, AKU also illegally
sent samples taken from the body of the dead student to a laboratory
in London, without permission from the Court or the Police. A
report received from London tried to raise doubts about the official
autopsy report over the cause of the death.
During this period the family of now arrested student Zeeshan
tried to bribe a police investigating officer and Rs 1 million
were recovered by another police party which got hint of the attempted
Medical Board set up on the demand of one of the three accused
students gave more credence to the illegally obtained Lab Test
Report from London which hinted that the dead student may have
taken opiates while no such sign of opiates was found in the first
autopsy report on the day of the death.
AKU Executives vehemently denied that the University was in any
way trying to influence the murder investigation or trying to
protect the accused. “This matter has been receiving appropriate
and serious attention from Aga Khan University. Let me confirm
that everyone at the University has taken the death of Assad Aftab
and the evidence of substance abuse by some students on campus
with the utmost seriousness. May I also assure you that every
assistance that was requested by all relevant authorities was
provided by our University as and when it was required,”
AKU President Shamsh Kassim-Lakha (Top,Left) told the South
Asia Tribune in an E-Mailed response to the Editor.
“I can also confirm that letters containing the University’s
disciplinary decisions have been issued against the students who
had committed offences under the Student Code of Conduct. Penalties
that have been imposed include expulsion from the University,”
Mr Lakha said in his letter.
Mr Lakha said: “I have learned yesterday that the police
has submitted the charge of accusation of murder before the Sessions
Court Karachi East. The trial has commenced against the accused
persons. Since the trial has commenced, and the matter is subjudiced
before a Court of law, it would now amount to contempt of Court
to make any comments or respond to your questions … I hope
that you will understand my inability to respond in detail to
Saturday, May 21, the Sessions Court in Karachi canceled the bail
of Zeeshan and police immediately arrested him for the murder
of Assad Aftab.
the upcoming investigations and trial of Zeeshan, the role of
AKU will come into focus as it has been established that AKU did
actually try to convert a murder case into a drug abuse case,
although as an institution it should have allowed the police and
the law enforcing authorities to do their job without trying to
influence the proceedings.
group of Doctors in Washington is also thinking of filing a law
suit against AKU because it kept the family of the murdered student
in agony for eight long months by not taking action against the
accused students who have now been found to be involved in the
murder of their colleague.