KARACHI: Sharae Pakistan (Super Highway) remained closed for hours on Sunday after the families of two suspected robbers killed by the police in an alleged encounter staged a protest against the incident, terming the encounter fake.
Two young men, wearing white shalwar kameez, were shot and killed by the Sharae Faisal police near Alladin Park on main Rashid Minhas Road Saturday evening. The police claimed that both the suspects were street criminals and were mugging citizens when the police confronted them. The police also claimed to have recovered arms, ammunition and looted valuables from their possession.
After medico-legal formalities were completed at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, the bodies were shifted to the Edhi morgue in Sohrab Goth for want of identification, where their families identified them on Sunday as Muhammad Iqbal and Ismail.
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After the identification, the families gathered near Ayesha Manzil on Sharae Pakistan and blocked the main road while staging the protest. A large number of neighbours and relatives also joined them. The protesters burnt tyres on the road and blocked the flow of traffic for hours.
The protesters claimed that both the deceased were innocent and had no criminal records. "Both of them were tailors by profession," they declared. "The police killed them in a fake encounter." The families demanded the relevant authorities take action against those involved in the fake encounter.
The protest was ended when contingents of law enforcement agencies and police reached the protest scene and assured the families that a transparent investigation will be conducted into the matter.
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On the other hand, the police officials blamed for staging fake encounter refuted all the claims made by the protesters. "They [the deceased men] were criminals," Sharae Faisal SHO Sarwar Commando maintained, adding that the police had a private complainant in the case. The officer said the encounter had taken place not in a jungle, but on one of the busiest roads of the city.
"Many people were there when my jawans encountered them after the suspects fired at them," the officer claimed. "The slain robbers had looted a doctor and were looting a family in a car and everyone saw them doing so." The SHO asserted, adding that the police also checked their criminal records and found that there were a number of victims who were robbed by them in the past. A case over the incident was also registered, while further investigations are under way.
Meanwhile, two police officers, including ASI Amjad, were suspended for thrashing journalist of the Express News, Sajid Rauf, who tried to cover the encounter. Taking notice of the manhandling of the journalist, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal ordered the East DIG to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within 24 hours.
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