The family of the man, who was killed in alleged crossfire between police and suspected robbers in Karachi in January, have raised objection over the handling of the case, accusing police of “committing murder in broad daylight”.
Talking to media on Tuesday, the family of Maqsood Mohammed, accompanied by social activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir, said that the challan submitted by the police before the court has revealed many things.
Nasir drew the attention of media persons towards the fact that the police firing had not only resulted in the death of Maqsood “but also that of the suspected robbers”.
He said, “Police have committed murder in broad daylight,” and demanded that the CCTV footage of the incident be made public.
According to Nasir, the CCTV footage clearly shows that there was no attempt by the robbers to stop the rickshaw.
“The robbers reportedly pretended that their vehicle had been in an accident, and on the pretext of rushing to the hospital they tried to get away on the rickshaw Maqsood had been travelling in,” said Nasir.
The police then “took pursuit of the rickshaw in a private car and cornered it, dragged the men out, sat them on the road and shot them,” the lawyer claimed.
Nasir alleged that eyewitness accounts were coerced and requested that they should be recorded again. He urged that the matter should be investigated by “police officers with clean records”.
The lawyer accused ASI Tariq of murdering Maqsood and called for a departmental investigation to be conducted in the matter. He further revealed that police have admitted that the robbers were not armed.
He demanded that bail given to police officials involved in the case be cancelled and a case should be registered against them under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
Version of events narrated by police party
Following the incident, it was said that Maqsood lost his life after being injured in a crossfire between police and suspected robbers on Karachi’s Sharea Faisal on January 26.
At that time, the police party had claimed that they indicated three suspects dressed in police uniform to stop over suspicion of their identity, however, the suspects sped up the car.
The police resorted to firing and burst tyres of the vehicle which the suspects abandoned and reportedly tried to commandeer a rickshaw. Upon resistance by rickshaw driver the suspects allegedly opened fire on it, which resulted in the death of Maqsood, police had claimed.
In the meantime, the police party arrived there and arrested two suspects in wounded condition after an exchange of gunfire.
A police surgeon at JPMC had said that Maqsood’s family took his body before a post-mortem examination could take place, but added that he sustained two bullets on his head and chest.
However, in the press conference on Tuesday, Maqsood’s family alleged that the police “did not take his [Maqsood’s] body for a post-mortem examination at that time.”
Police investigators’ version
During the course of inquiry “police found that there were several discrepancies in the statements provided by police officials,” Dawn was briefed by the investigation team carrying out the inquiry.
A fresh investigation was carried out under the supervision of DIG West Amir Farooqui, after the family did not accept the police’s claim that “the victim was killed by robbers”.
Statements of injured rickshaw driver Rauf, another passenger Murtaza, and injured robber Ali Eidain were recorded. According to police investigators, “Rauf and Murtaza were not telling the truth out of fear,” and that “it was possible they were threatened by the same policemen.”
Police told Dawn that eyewitness accounts of people present at Sharea Faisal at the time of the incident were also taken.
Furthermore, police investigatiors hinted the possibility that Maqsood and Rauf were not hit by the robbers’ gunfire.
Ali Eidain, the suspected robber in captivity, informed police that they had no weapon on them at the time of incident, however, police have so far been unable to verify this claim from another source.
The police investigators further said that last week they obtained the CCTV footage of the incident after which “the whole incident stands exposed”.
Subsequently, a police challan was submitted before the court and the video evidence was reportedly made part of the case file.
Defending the action taken by the police party to stop the robbers’ car, police investigators said Babar and Eidain are criminals with cases registered against them in Lahore and Multan, so the police’s action to stop the car was justified. “They were involved in looting valuables from people coming from the airport.”
However, the officials acknowledged that the way the police fired at the suspects in a frenzy and also at Rauf and Maqsood was completely unwarranted and unnecessary, given that the robbers had surrendered before the police party and were reportedly unarmed.
Talking to Dawn, the police investigators also admitted to the lack of professionalism shown during earlier investigations, saying “no one bothered to verify the events that took place that day” and that “everyone bought the story narrated by ASI Tariq”.