Saud Memon dies in hospital
* Liaquat Hospital doctor says Memon died from tuberculosis and meningitis
By Azaz Syed and Abbas Naqvi
ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: Saud Memon, a merchant who owned the plot from where US journalist Daniel Pearl’s body was found, died on Friday at Liaquat National Hospital in Karachi.
Memon was the first on the list of Pakistan’s most wanted and carried head money of Rs 3 million. Saud’s name first surfaced when the police recovered Pearl’s remains on May 17, 2002, on the pointation of his servant Fazl Kareem who was arrested three days earlier.
When Daily Times visited Memon’s house in Nazimabad No 4’s Pakhtoon-dominated Mujahid Colony before the burial, his eldest son Fahad was not present. Fahad had been sent away but Daily Times was able to confirm on the phone the death at the ICU, declared by doctors at 2:30pm. The scared family was exceedingly hostile and reluctant to allow interviews but told the media there was no dying declaration.
According to family sources, when Memon returned home on April 28, he was well enough to feed himself but could not recognise anyone. While the family source was narrating these details someone shouted from behind. “They killed him by injecting him with Cortisone!” The person was immediately hushed up. “When the family returned from Friday prayers at 2:30pm, the doctors told us he had died,” family sources said.
Memon’s brother Mahmood said Saud died 20 days after being admitted to hospital. Mahmood had appeared before the Supreme Court on May 14 in the forced disappearances’ case along with his brother who was unable to speak as a result of alleged torture by an intelligence agency during an undeclared confinement that lasted an estimated three years, one month and 21 days. Memon’s arrest was never brought on the record.
According to Mahmood, his brother left for South Africa after the police recovered Pearl’s remains from his plot in Ahsanabad, Gadap Town. He was apprehensive of his likely arrest in the high-profile murder case and fled the country. The FBI arrested him from South Africa on March 7, 2003, kept him at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years and then handed him over to the Pakistani authorities.
An intelligence agency then secured his custody for investigation. He subsequently lost his contact with the family. The family heard about his alleged detention last year through a man who was released by the same agency sometime ago.
Mahmood denied his brother had any links with the Pearl murder. He acknowledged, however, that Memon used to donate funds to the Al-Akhtar and Al-Rashid trusts. “My brother knew nothing about Daniel Pearl or his killers. If he had killed Pearl, he would certainly have not buried him in his own plot,” he said.
AP adds: Dr Ali Azmat Abidi at Liaquat Hospital said Saud Memon died from tuberculosis and meningitis.