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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 16:54 GMT
Gangsters, murder and extradition
By Bob Wylie
Investigations correspondent, BBC Scotland

As three men face life sentences for the murder of Glasgow teenager, Bob Wylie looks back on the long trail to justice.

It was October last year when I first came face to face with the men accused of Kriss Donald's murder. The men who fled to Pakistan.

They were being taken to holding cells near Islamabad airport, ready for their departure to the UK the next morning.

Imran Shahid, Zeeshan Shahid and Faisal Mushtaq

First out of the prison van was Faisal Mushtaq shackled to Zeeshan Shahid. They were followed by the gang leader Imran Shahid.

This wasn't his first time in jail. He had already been jailed for attempted murder and serious assault in the UK.

First the manacles came off and then there was a short statement from Imran Shahid - clearly the leading man.

He said that they could not talk in Pakistan as they did not feel safe but would make a statement on British soil.

It was surreal - here were the three men who'd abducted Kriss Donald, held him captive for hours, stabbed him 13 times and then set him on fire before he was dead and they were laughing and joking in the transfer cells.

They posed for the BBC cameras as though they hadn't a care in the world.

They were finally extradited to the United Kingdom in October last year and their trial started just about a year later on 2 October this year - in the High Court in Edinburgh.

First trial

But some eight months after Kriss's death in March 2004 the first two gang members - Daanish Zahid and Zahid Mohammed - were found guilty of murder and abduction.

Zahid Mohammed pleaded guilty to the abduction as he left the murder car long before it reached its final destination.

He gave evidence for the Crown case as did Daanish Zahid. Both of them implicated the other three as responsible for 15-year-old Kriss's murder.

Zahid Mohammed got five years in jail and Daanish Zahid life with a minimum term of 17 years.

Today's verdicts mean that none of the five members of the Asian gang who abducted tortured and murdered Kriss have escaped justice.

But do the convictions throw any more light on why Kriss died? Was Kriss a victim of a race assault, gangland revenge or do elements of both play a part in his brutal slaying?

Sajid Hussain

First, as the editor of the community newspaper Oracle, Sajid Hussain points out that Imran Shahid and his gang were not just yet another gang of local neds determined to defend their patch.

Instead, over the last 10 years they had emerged as a Mafia-style gang who maintained their gangster rule in Pollokshields by a reign of terror.

These were not some variation on any of the half a dozen youth gangs in the Pollokshields area - they ran what might be called the Pakistani Mafia in Pollokshields.

They would go to any lengths to preserve their rule over that of their rivals. After all, there was an operation based on drug running, extortion rackets, car ringing and credit card scams that was there to be defended.

Bashir Maan used to be the Labour councillor for the Pollokshields area. He says the problem with gangs in the area has been going on for more than 10 years.

In fact, as a councillor he was besieged by locals demanding that he do something about the gangs.

The problem for him - and the police - was that people were much better at making complaints than going to court to give evidence against Imran Shahid, or Baldy as he is known.

'Crime empire'

As early as 1997, Baldy and co were identified in a special police operation as emerging gangsters.

In fact, the police had Imran Shahid convicted on two serious charges of violence in 1995 and 2003.

But that and convictions for the others for violence did not stop them building their crime empire which was feared on the streets by most of the Pakistani community in Pollokshields.

The stories are legion, including cutting the thumb off a rival, putting it into a glass of milk and forcing him to drink it or hiring hit men from London to shoot up the shop owned by a man ready to testify against them. He didn't.

But Baldy and co's trademark violence and gangsterism isn't the only explanation for Kriss Donald's death.

What is also significant is the long standing problem in the area with young gangs who have been involved in age old feuds with each other. That would be the final element in the jigsaw of malevolence that led to Kriss's murder.

Jamie Wallace

Baldy and his gang had a history of war with the white youth gang in Pollokshields associated with the McCulloch Street area - the Young Shields Mad Squad.

On the night before Kriss Donald was murdered, Imran Shahid went clubbing in Glasgow city centre.

He was attacked by a group of white youths from Pollokshields as part of that long standing war.

In fact, after the attack Imran Sahid told a pal that the attack was revenge for his attack on a young man, Paschael Farren, nine years before.

So when Baldy went out the next morning looking for revenge he was looking for "white boys from the McCulloch street area".

So in part what happened to Kriss was the result of youth gang clashes but the revenge took place through the methods of extreme gangsterism.

Kriss Donald was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wasn't involved with any gangs.

It may be that the gang recognised Kriss's pal Jamie Wallace. He denies being involved with the McCulloch street team. He was with Kriss when Shahid and co attacked.

Police hunt

The three men convicted today of the abduction and murder took a long while to be brought to justice because, as we now know, they fled to Pakistan.

The town of Tobateksingh is in the heart of the Punjab, about three hours' drive west from the city of Lahore.

Faisal Mushtaq and Zeeshan Shahid hid out in a small village 10 miles from Tobateksingh called village 348. They must have thought nobody but nobody would find them there. They were wrong.

Mohammed Aslam of the Tobateksingh police proves that. Late in June last year he raided the village with his police team and captured the two.

Tobateksingh
Two of the men hid in a small village 10 miles from Tobateksingh

They managed to get to the roof of the building they were in and across the roofs of neighbouring houses before fleeing to the fields nearby. But after a long struggle they were caught.

Of course what the two did not know was that their local MP Mohammed Sarwar hails from Tobateksingh so it wasn't long before he knew where they were. They thought they could escape the long arm of Scottish Justice but they couldn't.

Meanwhile, around the same time the net was closing on Imran Sahid who had rented an apartment in the south side of Lahore.

The Shadman district of Lahore is one of the city's better off residential areas so when Imran Shahid rented an apartment there it seems he had designs on being in Pakistan for some time.

He was using the base to run a credit card fraud operation in the UK.

'Gang leader'

But a matter of weeks into his new flat and he was under surveillance by Special Branch officers. Early in July they moved in and arrested him.

According to Zubair Chattha, then of Pakistan Special Branch, when Imran Shahid was caught he tried to bribe his way out of jail.

Zubair Chattha

He offered his arresting officers two million rupees - about 200,000 - to spring him from the jail. When this didn't work he tried to blame the murder on the others.

Chattha says Baldy was astonished when he was collared on the steps leading to his flat.

When officers raided the flat they found the two-bit 'Godfather' had a false UK driving licence in the name of Enrique Soprano.

The three at first opposed extradition but at a later hearing agreed to be sent back to the UK.

So last October all that remained was for the officers of Strathclyde Police to go to Pakistan and collect the accused.

'Some consolation'

But getting to this point had not been easy because there is no extradition treaty between Pakistan and the UK.

The fact that a one-off deal was agreed is down to one man - Mohammed Sarwar - the MP for Glasgow Central.

He worked tirelessly for more than a year and a half to get the Pakistani authorities to agree a one-off extradition.

Eventually after four visits and meetings with the president, prime minister, and interior minister a one-off deal was agreed.

Foreign Minister, Tariq Azim, said the special circumstances of the case and its race profile meant that justice delayed would be justice denied.

Mohammed Sarwar

Senior officers from Strathclyde Police say that without Mr Sarwar the accused would never have been brought back from Pakistan.

Today's convictions offer some consolation that justice has at last been done.

All five men responsible for the murder of Kriss Donald are now behind bars.....for a long time.

But what will linger forever is the memory of a terrible, terrible murder of a 15-year-old boy.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The two-year hunt took police half way across the globe



KRISS DONALD TRIAL

LATEST NEWS

BACKGROUND
Kriss Donald Murder trail
A look back on how Kriss Donald's killers were brought to justice

TRIAL 2
 

EXTRADITION AND ARREST
 

TRIAL 1
 

ABDUCTION AND MURDER
 

VIDEO


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