Nephew admits to brutal family murder
Sikander Zia said he and a group of hired assassins murdered Amir Khan's family of five because it was "the easiest solution to get money".PT1M12S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2vxou 620 349 October 22, 2013
Nazia Amir was unsurprised to see Sikander Zia at her door last Sunday evening, so she welcomed him in and served him juice.
The bonds of family are strong in Pakistan, and Nazia's nephew was a regular visitor. He lived only a few doors away in Bahria Town on Islamabad's well-to-do southern outskirts.
But Zia's visit was anything other than routine. As the family conversed, he called the mobile phone of one of six men waiting outside the house then went to the front door to let them in.
Nazia's nephew: Sikander Zia. Photo: Ben Doherty
The men were killers, hired by Zia on the promise of 2.5 million Pakistani rupees ($24,000) for killing Nazia and her entire family.
In the quiet cloistered streets, the seven men did their job without anybody noticing, murdering Nazia, her husband Amir Khan, and their three children Romana, 17, Adam, 14, and Haider, 7.
Amir Khan, the head of the family and whose money and property they sought, was killed first, strangled to death as his family watched. Then his eldest two children and wife were murdered.
Strangled to death: An early photo of the Khan family showing (from left) Adam, Romana, Haider, Amir and Nazia. Photo: Supplied
Last, they killed Haider. As they had with the other family members, they tied his hands and feet with rope and taped his mouth shut. Then they strangled him to death with wire.
''I could not let him live, he knew me and we had played together, and he could identify me,'' Zia, 27, tells Fairfax Media.
The bodies of Amir Khan and his three children were dumped on the side of the Grand Trunk Road to Lahore. The bodies of his wife and their servant were left in bushes in a nearby suburb.
A week since the crime, Zia sits in an Islamabad police holding cell, a red sash tied around his eyes as a blindfold. He is calm and unemotional as he explains why he killed an entire family, his own.
''It was my plan … I was facing financial crisis and this was the easiest solution to get money.
''I found the six men in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and made an agreement with them that we would kill these people. I promised them that, after the crime, I will pay them 2.5 million rupees.''
Amir Khan and his family were dual Australian-Pakistani citizens, and he had visited friends in Melbourne last year.
By Pakistani standards, the Khans were wealthy, and ostentatiously so. Amir Khan owned more than a dozen homes in Bahria Town and drove the latest model four-wheel drive.
As the nephew of Amir Khan's wife, Zia's family stood to inherit much of Amir Khan's land and wealth.
He told Fairfax he bore no grudge against Amir Khan. His successful uncle had always been generous to him. ''There was no issue between us. He was a gentleman.''
Zia appears in good health. He says he has made his confession, to police and to this reporter, under no duress.
He speaks excellent English, has an MBA and seemingly good prospects. But his case is an insight into the intense familial pressures that exist in parts of Pakistan.
Young men are given opportunities - families make enormous sacrifices to give them a chance - but they are expected to do well, and to give back. Zia's ticket was a petroleum business that, after starting promisingly, had foundered. Zia had over-extended his credit, the bills were coming in and he saw no other way to repay them.
''I was still paying the rents, but there was no money. I was in serious financial crisis.''
He was formally arrested on Sunday night and he confessed to the crime. Three of his hired assassins have also been arrested.
Zia says he now expects, even wants, the death penalty, which has only recently been reintroduced in Pakistan after a moratorium, and is still applied only sparingly.
''I can't be forgiven … Six people have died because of me, I must face what I did.''
with Khudayar Khan