Two men, including a proclaimed offender, were killed in what the police said was a shootout following an attempted escape.
The family of one of them later staged a protest demonstration against the police saying that the killing was a planned.
The protesters, including women, blocked Zila Council Chowk for more than three hours. They chanted slogans against the police saying that the killing was planned. They demanded a high level inquiry into the killing.
Some women protesters lay down on the road and vowed not get up from there until senior police officials promised to take notice of the killing.
Muhammad Aman, a cousin of the deceased, said that he had been acquitted and exonerated in many of the robbery cases against him. He alleged that the police killed him as he had refused to bribe them.
The senior superintendent (Operations) arrived at the scene with a police contingent and directed them to disperse the protesters. The protesters initially resisted and refused to leave. Some of them also scuffled with the policemen who tried to push them away. However, later police managed to disperse them using a baton-charge.
Arshad Lohar, a proclaimed offender wanted for several robbery, theft and kidnap-for-ransom cases, was killed on the night between Wednesday and Thursday allegedly in an attempt to flee from police custody. Police said one of Lohar’s brothers was killed in an encounter four years ago.
Inspector Amir Waheed told The Express Tribune that Sub Inspector Idrees Iqbal, along with two policemen, was taking Lohar with him to conduct a raid at a house that he had indicated.
He said when they reached Chenab Chowk at around 1:40am, two cars intercepted their van. Police said some men came out of the car and started shooting at the police van and managed to take Lohar with them. They also took two SMG rifles and fled.
The SI immediately called other policemen for his help, he said. Jhang Bazaar Station House Officer Farrukh Waheed reached the scene and they chased the suspects who had turned towards Old Bakar Mandi, he added.
He said near Mahiay Shah graveyard, one of the cars ran into an electricity pole, while the others managed to flee towards Shadab Pulli.
He said when the police officers went near the car, two of the three men in it started firing at them. The police fired back, resultantly killing Lohar and his accomplice. The third man was arrested. He was identified as Muhammad Ali, a resident of Chak 355-GB. Police claimed to have recovered a Kalashnikov, four loaded magazines, the two stolen SMG rifles, a pistol, 25 bullets and a cutter from the car.
Police said Lohar was wanted for 26 cases, including a bank heist and a 140 grams gold robbery.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.