Iceberg of fraud, greed behind Malir’s harrowing slaughter of family uncovered
For many residents of Karachi, 42-year-old Muhammad Fawad had it made. An ideal espousing everything a working middle-class neighborhood resident dreams of.
But then everything went horribly wrong.
Was it simply greed, or was it the evil eye? The truth will ultimately come out in court.
For now, this is all that we know about what happened and why it happened:
On November 29, Muhammad Fawad suddenly returned to his Shamsi Society home near Malir Halt.
It was the middle of the afternoon, and it was pretty unusual for him to be home at that hour.
Maybe it was to have another meal with his family.
From what police learnt from his statement and gathered evidence, Fawad loved his three daughters, Neha, 17, Fatima, 15, and Samra, 11.
On that day, he had returned to his two-storey home unusually early. He sat down for lunch with his wife, Huma and a few favorite snacks with the rest of his family.
Soon after, as his family went about their day Fawad then took a knife to each of their throats.
After committing the deed, he called his brother, who lived in the UAE.
Eventually, he even turned the knife on his throat but could not follow through successfully.
His mother and sister-in-law, after receiving a call from his brother, rushed upstairs. They finally managed to break into their section of the house and found bodies lying in pools of their blood and Fawad lying, struggling for life.
Fawad ultimately survived, but his family did not.
The incident sent shockwaves through the Shamsi Society.
Where is Fawad now?
Fawad also attempted suicide by slitting his throat with a knife, but he survived. He was shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for treatment, where he underwent surgery and remains under treatment at the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Ward, recovering until his ultimate arraignment in court.
He has been booked by the Al-Falah police for murder (Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code) and attempted suicide(Section 325) on behalf of the state.
From middle-class ideal to nightmare
For many Fawad, was an ideal for emulating. A working-class, middle-aged man destined for great things.
On the outside, people saw Fawad as enjoying a life full of love and plenty.
He loved his three daughters, all of whom were acquiring private education – as is typical in most middle-income households. His eldest daughter, Neha, was taking classes to become a chartered accountant.
The two smaller ones went to private schools.
He worked jobs in well-reputed organizations apart from running his business on the side. This allowed him to indulge in a very contented lifestyle, if not lavish.
A visit to his house showed that Fawad had all basic necessities covered.
Fawad also loved fast vehicles and frequently changed the cars he used.
Trouble at work
On the work front, Fawad was a salesman who had earned his spurs working in the field on his motorbike.
He had gained expertise in the food and beverage industry. First, he worked food brand based in Korangi, and at the time of the incident, he worked in middle management at a local oil and ghee manufacturing plant.
Beyond that, he had started building his side hustle into a major business.
This gave rise to rumors that his gruesome act was precipitated by one or the other.
What did investigations uncover?
Aamir Shabbir, the Investigation Officer (IO) of the case, told SAMAA TV that apart from doing a full-time job, he was running a ‘business’, which had grown massively.
Based on the information he had given police by typing it on the phone, given that Fawad still can’t speak due to the injury he caused to his neck, Shabbir said that Fawad used to roll money from investors.
Shabbir said that Fawad had taken millions of rupees from people he knew on the pretext he would invest their money in his apparent sales and purchase business and then redistribute profits based on the investment amount.
“He (Fawad) usually purchased goods from the wholesale market and supplied them to large departmental stores in the city,” Shabbir said.
The officer said that Fawad had started this business in 2014 when he worked as a Sales Officer for a well-known food brand based in Korangi.
According to Fawad’s statement, he invested over Rs30 million in the business.
The shareholders of this business included individuals identified as Nauman, Riaz, Maqbool Elahi, Hamid, Faisal and Muzammil.
The investigator said that the true scale of investment and number of investors was much grander than what Fawad had disclosed, given the discoveries they had made thus far.
Shabbir said that instead of building a supply and demand business, Fawad had developed a business to attract investors.
“Every day, more and more people arrive at the police station and claim that Fawad took money from them on the pretext of investing in the business,” Shabbir said, adding that a recent case was that of Arsalan, who claimed to be a cousin of Fawad and that he claimed to have invested Rs90 million in the business.
Thus far, based on the claims, the total volume of investments has surpassed Rs150 million and counting.
Asked what evidence Shabbir had managed to gather thus far, the police investigator said that thus far, they have tracked multiple accounts registered and operated by Fawad.
While most were salary accounts – operated because he had taken up employment somewhere – two accounts stood out.
Shabbir said that it was through these two accounts that Fawad apparently ran his business through.
The IO said that Fawad received and paid millions of rupees through these two accounts.
Curiously, now both accounts have no money. One account is empty, while in the other, there are just Rs1,500. All of his salary accounts also reflected zero balance.
Asked if Fawad had instead invested the money in some physical asset, the police officer said they had also probed that possibility.
They discovered that Fawad had booked an apartment and a shop in a residential project. Still, he had yet to pay the instalments.
The irony is that he mortgaged both properties and took an additional loan.
None of these actions shows that he took the money he received from investors and used it to enrich himself.
The question then arises is where did the huge sum of money go?
Apparently, Fawad had no such volume of business that would require the capital he had raised, nor did it have the necessary payouts to show where the money went.
For Shabbir, the key to the puzzle of the triple murder rests in answer to that question.
He believes that Fawad was serially taking on new investments and redistributing them to his investors as dividends and profit without creating actual value.
Ultimately, Shabbir believes, it got to a point where the monthly profit payouts became unmanageable. When he ran out of money six months before the incident, he could not pay his debtors. That is when the trouble started.
Fawad was constantly harassed for either paying the promised profit or repaying the principal amount. He even took a job to pay off some debts and manage his home.
But he could not escape the result of his actions and had to turn the knife on himself.