Over 400 villagers blocked the Khanpur – Taxila road on Saturday to protest against what they termed extra judicial killing of a villager at the hands of the Khanpur police.
Traffic on the second-busiest road of the city remained suspended for over three hours as the villagers were adamant on keeping the road blocked unless an FIR was registered against the responsible police officials. The protesters placed the body of the deceased – Sharif Khan, 28, of Tofkiyan village – on the road and chanted slogans against the police.
According to local sources and the victim’s family, a group of the police officials raided the house of Sharif Khan on Friday, dragged him out onto the street and sprayed him with bullets. They maintained that Sharif was unarmed at the time he was killed.
However, the police claim that Sharif was killed when police returned fire after Sharif shot at and injured Additional Station House Officer Ishtiaq Khan during the raid. The police maintained that the accused was wanted for murdering a taxi driver, Abid, who accidentally got caught in an armed skirmish between groups of Sharif and his rival Zohaib Khan.
The villagers also pelted stones at police officials who tried to remove the body from the road to resume traffic flow. The protesters disperse after Haripur District Police Officer Muhammad Ali Gandapur reached the site and assured them that a judicial inquiry will be conducted to probe the incident and that any police official found to be at fault will be brought to task. The villagers, however, warned that if the inquiry was not initiated, they will block the road again in protest.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Sharif’s mother, Gulshan Bibi, said that his son had a brawl with Zohaib Khan and his accomplices who ran a gambling den at the village snooker club. She said that Zohaib opened fire at his son but shot and killed a passerby taxi driver instead. She said that police raided her house because her son was nominated in the FIR registered with the Khanpur police over the killing of the taxi driver.
She said the police party did no have any arrest warrant and entered their unlawfully by breaking the main door with axes. She alleged that the party received grafts from Zohaib and his accomplices to “murder her son and humiliate his body”.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2012.
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