Trans woman murder suspect has fled to Punjab, claim police

Our Correspondent
Sunday, Oct 10, 2021

Police officials investigating the murder of a trans woman who had fallen victim to an acid attack in Karachi’s Korangi area on October 6 have claimed that the prime suspect has fled to Punjab.

Police have decided to form a special team and send them to Multan to ensure the arrest of the suspect. They said that a case was registered against the suspect, namely Qaiser, on the complaint of the trans woman when her wounds were being treated at the hospital.

The victim’s body was sent to her home town Faisalabad for burial. “Before throwing acid on me, Qaiser had asked me why I was friends with someone else,” she had told the police.

The horrific acid attack, third in a span of less than a fortnight, was the sixth such incident in the city in 45 days. It had taken place at a house in Korangi’s Bilal Colony area, which falls within the jurisdiction of the Awami Colony police station.

Police and rescue workers had taken the victim to the burns ward of the Dr Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi (CHK), where she succumbed to her injuries during treatment.

The deceased was identified as 47-year-old Ghulam Mustafa, alias Saima. Citing the initial investigation, SHO Safdar Mashwani had said the trans woman lived at the house with another transgender person named Qaiser.

“They had been living together for the past three years. The tragic incident took place at the same house, where Qaiser threw acid on her and escaped,” said the officer. The SHO said Qaiser threw acid on Saima after an argument erupted between them.

According to hospital sources, the trans woman had been brought to the facility in a critical condition, as she had suffered over 60 per cent burn injuries, and she breathed her last during treatment.

This was the third acid attack within the span of less than two weeks and the sixth such incident in less than two months in the city: three of the attacks had occurred in September and two in August.

On September 30, an unidentified burqa-clad woman allegedly threw acid on another woman at the latter’s doorstep in Mansehra Colony and escaped. On September 24, an alleged drug addict, along with two accomplices, threw acid on his estranged wife in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, leaving her with burn injuries on her arms and back.

On September 2, another alleged drug addict threw acid on his wife, mother of their three children, in Qayyumabad, where the victim had been living at her mother’s house. She was admitted to the CHK’s burns ward with critical injuries. Police later arrested the husband, Sajid Riaz.

On August 22, a man was arrested in Baldia Town for allegedly attacking his ex-wife with acid. Police said the victim used to make TikTok videos and had continued making them after their marriage, which reportedly frayed the couple’s relationship.

Also on August 22, a woman was arrested in New Karachi for throwing acid on her ex-husband. The perpetrator was identified as Shabana Kausar, who lived in Liaquatabad.

She had allegedly attacked Mohammad Usman at his house on August 19. SHO Mohammed Nadeem said the couple had separated but the suspect was insisting that they get married again. As the man was reluctant to that idea, the woman threw acid on him, added the officer.

Of the six acid attacks, the prime suspects in three of the cases have been arrested. The suspects in the Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Mansehra Colony and the recent Korangi acid attacks are yet to be caught.

In the latest case, a trans woman has lost her life. In the previous cases, four women and a man suffered serious burn injuries, as their faces and other parts of their bodies were targeted in the attacks.

Two women were accused of throwing acid on a woman and a man, while three men were behind three other attacks on women. In the latest case, however, a transgender person is suspected of attacking a trans woman.