Investigators believe that the chief security officer of minister Agha Siraj Durrani was killed because some people have been slowly picking off members of a group he belonged to in the 1990s.
Thirty-three-year-old Mohammad Imran alias Jangi was gunned down near his Azizabad home on March 30 when he was going to offer Asr prayers. “He was the fourth victim of the same attackers,” said a source privy to the investigation. “Now, at least two more men remain.” Three of the old group members, Shehzad aka Bhaiya, Noman aka Nomi and Adnan were gunned down in similar cases in March. Investigators have withheld their names to protect the remaining two members of the old gang.
In the 1990s, Imran was part of a group that used to be involved in robberies. Investigators told The Express Tribune that he was booked under Section 13-D for the possession of illegal weapons and was involved in a police encounter. “He used to also be a part of the group of notorious criminals Amir Hakla and Rashid Fauji, who were killed in encounters,” sources said. Members of Imran’s old group went to jail but were released on bail. “Presently, Imran and his companions are not involved in any criminal activity.”
Over one dozen suspects have been taken in for questioning.
Imran’s friend Asif was close by when the murder happened. According to him, the attackers hung around outside Imran’s house for nearly two-and-a-half hours, playing cricket with the neighbourhood children. “They were polite and showed interest in the game,” the children said, while talking to The Express Tribune. “At least one hour passed by when we asked who they were and why they were here.” The men told the children that they were Imran’s friends and had given him a call and that he was coming to meet them.
The timing of the murder suggests that the attackers picked the day of the semi-final between India and Pakistan, which would mean that most people in the neighbourhood would be indoors.
Asif reached Imran’s house about ten minutes before the killing. He barely met him to invite him to watch the match together when Imran said that he had to go for Asr prayers. “I also saw the men ten minutes before the incident but I had no idea that they would kill Imran.” Asif and Imran split and Imran headed to the mosque when he was shot outside.
According to his friends, Imran knew that he would be targeted some day. They had tried to convince him to carry ammunition at least. “Whoever doesn’t have a fear of God in their heart, is afraid of death,” he used to say, said a friend.
Imran was a senior PPP activist who had been with the party since childhood and even his family has a political background. “My brother used to be with President Asif Ali Zardari, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and many others,” his brother Mohammad Khurram told The Express Tribune. “It was not only an attack on my brother but it was an attack on the PPP.”
Imran was a familiar figure in the area and had a good reputation. “My brother always cared for everyone but nobody cared for him,” Khurram said. “A crowd gathered at the spot and he was taking his last breaths but nobody helped him.”
Station Investigation Officer Azam Rana, who recently took charge at Azizabad, was confident of swift arrests.
Imran’s family is sceptical. “We are not satisfied with the police’s performance,” a member said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 03rd, 2011.