The general manager of the Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (Tevta) was shot dead at an underpass on Canal Bank Road in Garden Town police jurisdiction in the early hours of Tuesday.
Javed Iqbal was travelling with his wife and daughter back to their home in Westwood Colony, Thokar Niaz Beg, when they were forced to stop by five men on three motorbikes. Two of them then shot a bullet each at Iqbal and killed him.
Iqbal’s wife and daughter told the police that the assailants had chased them all the way from a McDonald’s branch on Gulberg’s Main Boulevard and it was a clear targeted killing. The police, however, said that Iqbal appeared to have been killed for resisting a robbery attempt.
Iqbal and his wife Uzma had picked up their daughter Tehreem, who had been away in the United Kingdom, at the airport at around 2:25am and then driven to McDonald’s, where they arrived at around 3:10am.
Uzma told the police that three motorcycles started chasing them from the restaurant and managed to get in front of the car a few hundred metres before Gulzar Underpass. She said the bikes slowed down and zigzagged in front of the car, forcing Iqbal to slow down too. They brought the car to a halt and then two men got off their bikes and walked towards the driver’s side door. They shot a single bullet each at Iqbal, hitting him in the back.
She said that Iqbal then stepped on the accelerator, deliberately or accidentally, and the car moved forward a little, knocking down one of the bikes. She said the two shooters walked towards the driver’s door to check that Iqbal had been hit. She said one of them smirked before they got back on their motorcycles and fled. She then drove her husband to Doctors’ Hospital, but he had died by the time they arrived.
Uzma Iqbal also said in her statement to the police that while being chased by the motorcyclists, the family had tried to seek help from several passing cars including two police vehicles, but received no response. The mother and daughter described the assailants as in their mid 20s. One of the assassins wore white jeans and an orange shirt with a green collar. He had stubble on his chin. The other shooter also wore jeans and a coloured shirt. He had a distinctive ‘zigzag’ goatee, they said.
The police said, however, that Iqbal appeared to have been killed for resisting a robbery. They said that minutes before the reported murder, a Pizza Hut delivery boy named Mian Azhar Saleem had been stopped at Gulzar Underpass and robbed of his mobile phone, about Rs5,100 in cash, and the pizza he was to deliver by four armed men on two motorcycles. He had said in an FIR lodged at Garden Town police station that the motorcyclists, after robbing him, had stopped a Corolla, the same car as Iqbal’s, but did not say what colour it was.
However, he said he had not taken a close look at the robbers or the car, and it was unclear if the vehicle he saw being held up had belonged to Javeed Iqbal. He had told the police that he immediately drove away and did not see or hear any gunshots.
Model Town SP (Investigation) Ijaz Shafi Dogar said that he did not agree with the family that it was a targeted killing. He said that the motorcyclists had likely attacked Iqbal because he had refused to stop his car or resisted the robbers. He said that video footage from the McDonald’s branch did not show their car being followed by any motorcycles.
Punjab Police IG Habibur Rehman set up a two-member committee of the Lahore Investigation DIG and Investigation SSP. In a statement, the IG said that the committee would investigate the killing of the Tevta general manager “on resistance during a dacoity bid”. The committee will compile a report for the IG “as soon as possible”.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2012.