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Qandeel murder case: Mufti Qavi apprehended, arrested on the way to Jhang

Qandeel murder case: Mufti Qavi apprehended, arrested on the way to Jhang

Cleric Mufti Abdul Qavi was arrested by police on the highway from Multan to Jhang on Wednesday after his application for an extension in his pre-arrest bail in the Qandeel Baloch murder case was rejected, police said.

Mufti Qavi had appeared before a sessions court for the first time in connection with the murder case on Tuesday. Upon his lawyer's request, the court had adjourned the hearing of the case for a day.

The cleric had on Wednesday filed for an extension in his pre-arrest bail.

Explore: The story behind the Qandeel selfie that got Mufti Qavi suspended

As the hearing began today, District and Sessions Judge Chaudhry Ameer Ahmad Khan reserved his decision on the matter for a few minutes.

However, before the judge could announce his decision, a group of lawyers helped Mufti Qavi escape from the court.

The judge later ruled that the application for an extension in the cleric's pre-arrest bail would be turned down.

He also ordered the investigating officer to arrest Mufti Qavi and submit a challan for the Qandeel murder case in the court soon.

Investigating Officer (IO) Noor Akbar had said police would arrest Mufti Qavi and present him in court in compliance with the judge's orders.

Superintendent of Police Cantonment Dr Fahad later confirmed to Dawn that the cleric had been arrested on the highway from Multan to Jhang and will be presented in the court on Thursday.

Later, City Police Officer (CPO) Mohammad Saleem dismissed IO Akbar for "poor investigation, favouring Qavi during investigation and helping him flee".

Akbar was also arrested on the CPO's orders.

While arriving at the court on Tuesday, Mufti Qavi had said that he had presented himself in the court as per orders.

"We will accept whatever decision the judiciary announces," he had said at the time.

Police had included Mufti Qavi's name as a suspect in the murder case of the social media celebrity on the request of her father, Muhammad Azeem, the complainant in the case, who in a statement before the police suspected the cleric's possible role in her murder.

Judge Ameer Ahmad Khan last week granted pre-arrest bail to Mufti Qavi shortly after a trial court issued his non-bailable arrest warrants in the Qandeel murder case.

Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Pervaiz Khan had issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of Mufti Qavi when the investigation officer informed the court that he was not cooperating with police in the investigation.

Soon after the non-bailable warrants were issued, the counsel for Mufti Qavi had filed a pre-arrest bail application, which the judge had granted against a surety bond of Rs100,000.

Model and actress Qandeel Baloch was found strangled to death in her house in Multan's Karimabad area on July 16, 2016. Her father claimed that she was killed by her younger brother, Waseem, in the name of honour.

Her brother Waseem was arrested by police in Dera Ghazi Khan later that night and confessed to killing her in the name of 'honour'. Accompanied by police at a press conference, Waseem alleged to have drugged and strangled her, saying that she "brought dishonour to the Baloch name" due to her risque videos and statements posted on social media.

"There are other issues as well... Like the maulvi issue," he said, in an apparent reference to a controversy in the weeks leading up to her death after Qandeel took selfies with Mufti Qavi.

Qavi's selfies had gone viral on social media, causing a nationwide furore, after which the cleric's membership of the Ruet-i-Hilal committee and the National Ulema Mushaikh Council had been suspended.

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