Return of the Dead (Part 14)

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Written by: Ishtiaq Ahmad
Translated By: Hafsa bint Yar Muhammad Nizamani
   Class IX Govt. Girls’ High School Tando Qaiser

The story until now:
"Your idea, Mamoon Kabuliwala Sahib, does carry weight. If a person, a look-alike, can be killed at your door step then why can’t a person in your get up come here too? That would mean that what all these villagers are saying is true and the woman is correct too. And not only that but you too are right. If it is a conspiracy against you then the conspirator is a real expert in make-up. He has no match in his skill. Are you familiar with such a person?"
"A make-up expert? Oh! Oh!” Mamoon Kabuliwala looked thunderstruck.
The story continues:
"What’s the matter, Mamoon Sahib? Have you remembered something?"
"Doctor Qasim Nadeem ... he has recently come back from abroad after doing a course in plastic surgery. He is an expert in his field and a close friend of mine. But why would he do something like this?"
"We’ll deal with that later. First of all we have to see whether he has any links with this matter or not. I think we should return to the city now. Our work here is finished. The woman did get married but who married her? Mamoon Kabuliwala or his duplicate? This is what we have to find out."
"The case is getting more and more complicated," said Khan Rahman.
Professor Dawood smiled and then said, “When does our team deal with less complicated cases?"
"You’re right! That is also a fact. Come on, let's go to the city."
Soon they were in the city again where they left the woman with Mrs. Jamshed. Then all of them, including Mamoon Kabuliwala set off for Dr. Qasim Nadeem’s clinic. As soon as Dr. Qasim saw Mamoon Kabuliwala, he turned pale with fear.
"What... what is this? Am I dreaming? Kabuliwala… my… my  friend died a long time ago."
“Exactly! Anyway we have come to ask you some questions about your late friend," Inspector Jamshed smiled.
"Who are you?" Dr. Qasim asked in an agitated tone. Inspector Jamshed introduced himself.
"When will you be free? We have to discuss something with you in detail."
"I’ll be free in a few minutes," said the doctor.
After a while, they were sitting in a separate room. Doctor Qasim seemed extremely disturbed. He was a fair, tall and thin man, very ill at ease at the moment.
“Will you tell me how it is possible that this man is Mamoon Kabuliwala?"
Inspector Jamshed filled him in. He related all that had happened till the present moment.
"I see. Now what do you want with me?"
"Did you ever change anyone’s face to look like Mamoon Kabuliwala?"
"Certainly not. I don't do that kind of a thing. I only perform plasticsurgery on the faces of those who have been disfigured in accidents. I charge a high fee for my work. The type of make-up you are talking about is a heinous crime. And I do not do such jobs at all."
"Look here, try to understand. Mamoon Kabuliwala's replicas have appeared twice. Once, the person who was shot dead looked exactly like him and then the person who went to the village and married the woman was an exact copy too."
"But maybe Mamoon Kabuliwala is lying. Maybe it was he who went to the village and got married.”
"We are investigating from that angle too, don't worry. What you are saying is that you never made anyone look like Mamoon Kabuliwala?"
"Yes. I never did and will never do such a thing."
"Ok. We just wanted your assurance that you never performed such a surgery."
"I’ve told you I didn’t,” he said firmly.
"Ok, thank you. Let's go," Inspector Jamshed said to the others and they came out of the doctor’s clinic.
“We’ve made a mistake. We forgot to check the nikah nama in the village. The person who was a witness to Mamoon Kabuliwala’s marriage must have signed the nikah nama. Let’s ask Aasma." Inspector Jamshed dialed his home phone number. Mrs. Jamshed received the call and then gave the receiver to Aasma.
"Aasma Sahiba, when your marriage took place, the nikah nama must have been signed?"
"Yes, of course," she replied.
"Who was the qazi?"
"Maulvi sahib of the village."
"Then he must have a copy of your nikah nama. Ok, thank you." Inspector Jamshed gave some instructions to Ikram who set off for the village at once. He returned some time later with the document in his hand. Inspector Jamshed saw that it had Kabuliwala's signatures on it. When he showed them to Mamoon Kabuliwala, his eyes opened wide with surprise.
" Oh God! These are just like my own. How can it be possible? Can someone go to such extremes?"
"You didn't sign this nikah nama, did you?"
"No, not at all," he said vehemently.
“Ok, then we will just have them checked by the experts." Inspector Jamshed gave the paper to Ikram who left with them.
"You can go home too,” he said looking at Mamoon Kabuliwala. “We shall have to do some urgent detective work now. As soon as we reach a conclusion, we shall send
for you."

"Ok. I shall be waiting for you.”
On reaching their home Inspector Jamshed called Ikram and gave him specific instructions. He told him to take his subordinates with him.
"So have you reached any conclusion or not?” he asked looking at all of them.
"No, we haven’t," Farooq said.
"Try. Think about it. Use your brains. By the way, I have ordered that a strict watch be kept on all the concerned people. We shall know everything pretty soon. In this case, it goes without saying that the expertise of a plastic surgeon has been used. It is also possible that the surgeon in question is the mastermind of this case. Any way it is certain now that this is a conspiracy against Mamoon Kabuliwala. If he had wanted to marry that lady, he could have married her publicly. He is so rich. Why would he have kept his wife in the cellar?"
"The answer to this question is clear enough, Jamshed,” Professor Dawood spoke up. "Yes?"
"After having a son, Mamoon Kabuliwala realized what a great mistake he had made. His new son was another heir to his wealth. He had become the third owner of the factory. This fact would have made his sons and wife hate him. So he imprisoned his new wife and son in the cellar."
“You may be right. But Mamoon Kabuliwala said he had no idea when the cellar was built. He did not know anything about its existence.”
“Maybe he wasn’t telling the truth? Maybe the cellar was constructed a long time ago by his father. A cellar is quite useful, you know. It can be used for storing many things,'' Khan Rahman expressed his opinion.
“Hmm, here the question arises who was the man who was killed in his place? Did Mamoon Kabuliwala kill him himself? Why? This thing does not fit in this story. On the other hand if we think of it as a conspiracy against Mamoon Kabuliwala then everything falls in. He was abducted and imprisoned somewhere. A person, a look-alike was killed at his door step so that his family would bury him and consider him dead. In this way, they could imprison him easily for three years. No one would be searching for him. If that person had not been killed the police would have set up a hunt operation and tracked down the criminals. Therefore, they surgically made someone look exactly like Mamoon Kabuliwala and killed him. Everyone came to believe that Mamoon Kabuliwala was dead. The police tried to find Mamoon's killer but not Mamoon Kabuliwala himself. The culprits easily kept Mamoon Kabuliwala imprisoned and put their plan into action,'' Inspector Jamshed fell silent. After a deep silence he spoke up again, “The mystery of the cellar still exists. Was the cellar built by the culprits? If so, then someone in a high position in the factory is involved in the whole conspiracy. Without his consent and knowledge the cellar could never have come into existence. But then it is also possible that the cellar was already there. Mamoon Kabuliwala did not know about it but the criminals did. And yet it seems strange that the owner, Mamoon Kabuliwala knew nothing about its existence but the criminals did.” Inspector Jamshed sat there, looking at the floor, in deep thought.
(to be cont.)