UK police no longer probing Shahzad Akbar acid attack case

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DNA

LONDON: The UK police are no longer investigating the acid attack on Shahzad Akbar, the former federal minister and ex-adviser to deposed prime minister Imran Khan, which took place last year.

“We have explored all lines of enquiry and have not been able to identify any suspects,” said a police source linked with the counter-terrorism policing.

In November 2023, Akbar claimed that an unidentified man threw acid on his face at his home in the UK and he sustained injuries on one side of his face and body. 

Speaking to Geo News, the Hertfordshire Constabulary — which is the territorial police force responsible for policing the county of Hertfordshire where Akbar lives — said that it was an extremely complex investigation. 

“Since November, officers have been working hard to try and trace those involved. On this occasion, we have explored all lines of enquiry and have not been able to identify any suspects. Incidents of this nature are thankfully rare in Hertfordshire and the safeguarding of any victim remains our priority. Should any new information come to light, we will act on this accordingly,” said the police force. 

Meanwhile, an intelligence source said that the probe into the acid attack was closed after no suspects were found during the “dedicated investigation”.

According to the source, the police probed several lines of inquiry, reviewed footage of several hours including the entry and exit points of the local area in Royston, however, they did not identify any suspects. 

The forensics didn’t create any headways and no clues were found, said the source, therefore it was decided to close the investigation without any further action.

Following the incident last year, Herts police were contacted by an ambulance service just before 4:45pm on Sunday to reports of an assault in Royston. 

“It is believed an acidic solution was used. A 44-year-old man received hospital treatment and has now been discharged. Safety of any victim is paramount and we believe this is an isolated incident,” the police had said.

Weeks before the attack, Akbar had confirmed to Geo News that he had written to the law enforcement authorities in the UK that he felt in danger because his new address in Royston was known to the Pakistani government.

The former adviser informed the police after he received a letter from the Cabinet Division asking questions about his role in the £190 million NCA properties settlement case and Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi’s Al-Qadir Trust case.

He had said: “The letter two weeks ago came to my new address which was shocking for me because it was a clear message from the Pakistan government that my location is known. So the police already knew about this matter.”

A source linked with the Pakistani government with full knowledge of the ongoing cases had said it’s a legal requirement to serve papers to the accused’s known address. Akbar holds evidence and documents in the £190 million corruption case and he took away these state-owned papers and refused to cooperate with the inquiry, said the source.

Last week, Akbar said that he was taking legal action against the Government of Pakistan over the acid attack. He has served a copy of his legal action to the Pakistan High Commission in London. It names several Pakistani government officials as responsible for the attack. He claimed in the letter the Government of Pakistan was behind the attack.

When asked to comment on the closure of the inquiry by the UK police without any suspects found, Akbar said: “I have already made it public who is responsible for the attack on me, perpetrated at the best of Pakistani government. The criminal inquiry may be closed but I have recourse to civil course of action which I have already started.”