KARACHI: In a latest development in the matter involving Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) lawmaker Salman Mujahid and a woman who has accused him of sexual assault and blackmail, the latter has refused to appear before SP Farooq Awan, in charge of investigation in a case filed by Mujahid against the woman and her family. She has said that Awan was a close friend of Mujahid and, therefore, she did not expect him to conduct a fair inquiry. SP Awan has admitted that he and Mujahid have been close friends, though he says that the friendship won’t impact his professional duties. “I will not appear before SP Farooq Awan,” the woman said through a letter statement released to the media, demanding that some other police officer be assigned to probe the matter. “Farooq Awan is a friend of Salman Mujahid Baloch and I do not believe that he will conduct a transparent inquiry,” she said on Friday. District South Investigations SP Farooq Awan is an investigation officer in the case registered against the woman and her family on behalf of Salman Mujahid at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal police station, accusing her of borrowing money from him and then refusing to return it. When contacted, SP Farooq Awan said he shared a close friendship with the MQM-P MNA. “Yes, we are close friends but such relations don’t come in the way of my professional duties. I will conduct the investigation on merit only,” he said, adding that if the woman still wanted to appear before another police officer, he did not have any issues with that. In two separate cases registered against Mujahid at Taimuria and Gulshan-e-Iqbal police stations, the woman has accused him of sexual assault, harassment and attempted kidnapping. The MNA has denied these allegations, saying that the complainant should bring evidence in support of her allegations. He has also produced an affidavit, signed allegedly by the woman, showing that she had borrowed Rs4 million from Mujahid. Electronic media reports that the police were seeking permission from the National Assembly speaker to arrest Mujahid for investigation were dismissed by law enforcers. They said no such request had been sent adding that investigation was underway in the matter. Published in Daily Times, February 17th 2018.