Five men were shot and killed and 20 injured in a Toba Tek Singh village on Wednesday night allegedly by relatives of eight robbery suspects killed by the villagers almost two year ago, said an FIR registered on Thursday.
Complainant Muhammad Bashir Khalid, uncle of Muhammad Shahid, one of the deceased, said the attackers had been shouting that this was revenge for murders of their relatives killed by the villagers in Chak 332-GB Jakhara in May 2010.
Muhammad Aslam, a fellow villager, corroborated Khalid’s account. He said he had heard the attackers shouting about the suspects killed in the village two years ago.
The deceased were identified as Muraad, Muhammad Younus, Naseer Ahmad, Muhammad Javaid and Muhamnmad Shahid. The injured included Master Sajid, Arslan, Sarfaraz, Luqman, Usama, Shahid, Zaighum, Aslam, Faisal, Muhammad Shareef, Kamran, Javaid, Qurban, Akram and Ameen. They were taken to a nearby hospital where doctors later described their condition as out of danger.
The complaint registered with Chatiana police mentions Sections 302, 324, 148, 149, 337A, 337-A2, 34 of PPC and 7 of the ATA.
Maqboolan Bibi, one of the witnesses, said that the attackers had continued firing for more than 40 minutes. “They were driving around and firing bullets in all directions,” she said. She said the firing caused panic throughout the village. “People rushed indoors to seek shelter,” she said.
Villagers said the attack was made possible by police’s negligence. Muhammad Hanif said there was no policemen on Wednesday at the post set up at the entrance to the village since the last year’s incident. He said the post was set up on the directives of the Toba Tek Singh DPO.
SHO Maqbool Ahmad Gujjar rejected the negligence charge. He said the policemen deployed at the post were saying the Maghrib prayers when the incident took place.
He said a team had been formed to investigate the killings. He said while the complainant insisted that the attackers were related to the robbery suspects killed in the village last year, it was too early to connect the two incidents.
The SHO said an inquiry into the previous killings was pending with Sessions Judge Malik Shabbir.
He said the 16 men mentioned in the FIR were not arrested and a request sent to the sessions judge to discharge as the police failed to gather enough evidence against them. However, he said, the judge had rejected the request.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.