Afreen Baig is Killed

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MR NICE

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KARACHI: Actress and drama producer, Afreen Baig, the sister-in-law of the late pop singer Nazia Hassan, was found strangled in her home Thursday evening, police said.

“Afreen Baig was found dead in her bungalow in Khayaban-e-Shamsheer of Phase V of the Defence Housing Authority,”

According to police, they found Ms Baig, who was in her mid-30s, in the bathtub of the bathroom.

She was strangled before being put in the bathtub, police said.

Welts on her hands and feet showed she had been tied with rope, said doctors at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre who conducted the autopsy.

Ms Baig’s small son, who is autistic, was at home at the time of the crime. Police are looking for Ms Baig’s servant Dhani Bux and his wife Zubaida, who were absent from the house.

Valuables, including gold ornaments, were missing. A family friend, whose name police did not disclose, alerted the police after he found the house locked from inside. He paid the visit because Ms Baig’s husband, drama director Farooq Mengal, had called him from Islamabad after no one at home answered his phone calls.

The doctors also sent viscera of the body to the lab for further lab tests.

A police investigator, however, said there were indications the robbery might be a pretext for planned murder. Whoever killed her “stole the valuables to misguide the police,” he added.

The police also found the deceased’s minor son from the house who was reportedly in the state of shock. No police officer was available for an official comment on the crime, important members of the department having turned their mobile phones off.

Ms Baig was the sister of Nazia Hassan’s husband Ishtiaq Baig. Her other brother, Ikhtiar Baig, was a National Assembly candidate of the Pakistan People’s Party in the last general elections.

An award-winning directress: Afreen Baig had already two trophies of the prestigious Lux Style Awards, which she won for her serials in 2001 and 2002. She was the lady who introduced the culture of having pop artistes sing the title songs of her productions.

Afreen was the wife of another famous director Farooq Mengal. Both had formed an intimate relationship on the sets of ‘Anarkali.’ They had known each before ‘Anarkali,’ since both had worked in several productions before.

Afreen was said to be the youngest of all siblings. While officially it could not be ascertained, but family sources said the family had altogether six brothers and sisters. Afreen had been into showbiz since 1988 when she first appeared for a Qasim Jalali programme, ‘Yes sir, no sir.’

She made headlines, however, many years later when she reappeared on the silver screen, but this time as a director. She made her directorial debut, under the banner of Afreen Baig Productions, with ‘Kabhi Kabhi Pyar Mein.’ Ms Baig hired the services of pop star Faakhir for the title song. Faakhir’s song was the hit of the entire country, then and the drama did fairly well, also. It was a great breakthrough for Afreen whose venture was later nominated for the Lux Style Awards. Not only did Ms Baig win the award in the ‘Best Drama Serial’ award category, she followed up her success the next year with a similar hit, ‘Chandni Raatein.’

Posted 15 Oct 2004

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