Ex-husband awarded death sentence in Wajiha Swati murder case

Khalid Iqbal
Sunday, Nov 13, 2022

RAWALPINDI: Additional District and Sessions Judge, Rawalpindi, Muhammad Afzal Majoka, on Saturday awarded death sentence to the prime accused, Rizwan Habib, in the murder case of his former spouse, Pakistani-American Wajiha Swati.

In its 52-page judgment, the court awarded death sentence and 10 years of imprisonment to the former husband of US national of Pakistani origin Wajiha Swati, while co-accused Hurriyatullah and Sultan were sentenced to seven years of imprisonment.

During the hearing, all the convicts and officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) were present in the court. The additional district and sessions court passed the judgment with four senior officials of the United States Embassy and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) team present in the court.

The verdict maintained that an American woman was called to Pakistan and killed on the pretext of settling a property dispute worth billions of rupees. The main culprit, Swati’s former husband Rizwan Habib, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of kidnapping and was fined Rs100,000. He was also sentenced to death on charges of murder and has additional fines of Rs500,000.

Rizwan’s father Haritullah and employee Sultan were sentenced to seven years in prison for desecrating a corpse and were fined Rs100,000 each.

Zahid and Rashida, the other accused, were acquitted due to a lack of evidence. The FBI officials said the verdict was “the best decision”.

Wajiha Swati had reached Pakistan on October 16, 2021 from the US via the UK and was brutally murdered the next day by her former husband Rizwan Habib and his accomplices.

The body was transported to Khyber Pakhtunkwa by the killers and it remained buried in a deep pit for 63 days before the Rawalpindi Police recovered it and shifted it to Rawalpindi. The US citizen of Pakistani origin, Wajiha Swati, was found dead in December, two months after she went missing from Rawalpindi in October. Her former husband Habib reportedly confessed to killing Swati during police interrogation. He also told the police that he had planned to seek asylum and citizenship in Poland after the murder, for which he had obtained a passport.

According to the police, Habib revealed that his father, who was also arrested on charges of aiding and abetting the murder, had said that “it would cost only Rs50,000 to kill Wajiha.” The culprit buried Swati’s body in Hangu, from where a police team exhumed her body on the directions of RPO Rawalpindi.