London, Aug. 22: These are not good times for Pakistan and Pakistanis. Today, 10 men and one woman, several of them British Muslims of Pakistani origin, appeared in court in London charged with a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic aircraft.
Then the Pakistani cricket team is expected to cut short its tour of England and fly back to Pakistan over the “cheating” row at the Oval.
And today, police announced they have found the car of a British Pakistani, a taxi driver whom they want to question in connection with the horrific murder of his wife and three children.
On Sunday evening, police broke down the door to Rahan Arshad’s home in Cheadle Hulme, near Manchester, and made a grisly discovery — the bodies of his wife, Uzma Rehan (sic), 32, his two sons, Adam and Abbas, 11 and 8 respectively, and his six-year-old daughter, Henna.
The bodies were in an advanced stage of decomposition after having lain in the house for four weeks.
The implication is that Arshad, described by neighbours as an “extremely jealous” husband, killed his wife and children and fled the country, most probably to Pakistan.
From all account, this tale of marriage breakdown was unlikely to end like the one in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.
Arshad’s silver BMW 320 Diesel M sports car was found abandoned at Heathrow last night after police had circulated its registration number.
The post mortem to establish the time and cause of death was due to have been carried out today by forensic pathologists. Arshad’s £200,000 four-bedroom home has been sealed off by police.
A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester police said: “Officers are still trying to trace Rahan Arshad, 36, of Turves Road in Cheadle Hulme, who has not been seen for several weeks. He is believed to be the husband and father of the deceased.”
The first time neighbours called police, officers made a cursory check and went away. The second time they were called when the smell from inside the house had got much worse, they battered down the front door and entered to find the kind of murders that tends to happen mainly (though not exclusively) among Asians.
There have been other cases where a jealous husband has killed his own children in front of their mother to give her the maximum suffering, before taking her life and then his own.
A neighbour, Elaine Barker, told the Mirror newspaper of her husband's mood swings when the marriage deteriorated.
Barker said: "Uzma lived here with the children for a while and I saw a lot of her. She was absolutely beautiful and so were the children. She told me she had just left her husband and he was quite aggressive and jealous of her. She never said he had hit her or anything, but I worried that that was what she meant when she talked about his mood swings."
Barker added: "I only saw him a couple of times I didn't know what to make of him because she had told me he was pestering her."
About a year ago Uzma announced she wanted to give the marriage another try and was moving back in with Arshad.
Barker said: "She said she thought he'd changed. She was very excited. I thought it was nice they were starting again and she might be happy."
When the family were not seen at the property, neighbours initially assumed the Arshads had gone on holiday.
Natalie Hough, 18, said one neighbour peered through the letter box and was overcome by a gut-wrenching stench. "She was coughing and spluttering at the smell. Nobody can believe this has happened here, everyone's in shock. We heard a few weeks ago the family had gone on holiday to Pakistan and no one had seen so much as a curtain twitch for weeks."
Other neighbours claimed Arshad and Uzma had been arguing recently because he suspected she was having an affair.
Hannah Mills said: "There were rumours going around that it was an arranged marriage and she wasn't very happy. It has also been said she was seeing another man and her husband found out."
Arshad is said to be a strict Muslim who brought Uzma to the UK from Pakistan after an arranged marriage in 1993. Friends described Uzma, whose parents are still in Pakistan, as a modern Muslim who wore westernised clothes and make-up.
Detective Superintendent Martin Bottomley commented: "We believe the family have not been seen for up to four weeks, which means the bodies could have lain there for all that time. With the hot weather we've been having, you can only imagine the state they were in when our officers found them. We are very keen to speak to the fifth occupant of the property, Rahan Arshad."