LAHORE: In an unusually violent day in Lahore, four people were shot dead while two others were injured in a suspected botched robbery attempt on Saturday.
A man and his son were among the four people gunned down when two unidentified suspects opened fire at people inside a photocopy-cum-money transfer shop in Pakki Thathi in the Millat Park area reportedly on offering resistance during a robbery.
Two more victims were admitted to hospital with bullet wounds.
The deceased were identified as Muhammad Amjad Pervaiz, 42, and his son Tanzeel Ahmad. The two other deceased were identified as Muhammad Abbas, a resident of Bahawalnagar who worked at a nearby bread shop, and Farhan Aslam, who worked at the shop where the firing incident took place.
The injured men were named Saleemuddin Kareem and Gohar Sarfaraz. Kareem was shot once in the chest while Gohar suffered a gunshot on the hip. Both the men were said to be in a critical condition.
Eyewitness Amin, a relative of the father-son duo, claimed the shooting happened when the victims offered resistance to robbers at the shop.
He said two unidentified motorcyclists wearing helmets came to the shop. One of the suspects entered the shop and started looting the people at gunpoint. The shop owner and another man tried to overpower the suspect, on which the other suspect standing at the entrance opened fire at. The first suspect got free and also opened fire at the victims before fleeing on their motorcycle.
Amin said the shop owner or his son had no personal enmities. While Farhan was a shop employee, all other victims were either customers or passersby.
The attack left six people injured. They were shifted to the Services and Mayo hospitals, where doctors pronounced four of them dead on arrival.
The police, however, said it was premature to label the incident a botched robbery. Iqbal Town SP Adil Memon said the police were investigating the matter keeping in view all aspects.
A senior officer said four people ending up dead in a robbery bid was highly unusual. “During robberies, hostages and onlookers are afraid to put up resistance in a majority of cases. In such cases, the suspects get panicked and open fire on the fear of getting caught but the onlookers run away. The suspects do not wait and shoot all people on the scene,” he said, adding that personal enmity or other factors could not be ruled out at all.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the rare incident and asked the CCPO to submit his investigation report. CCPO Amin Wains has in turn ordered the Iqbal Town SP to submit his report.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2016.
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