KARACHI: The murder case of a youth in Defence Housing Authority (DHA) took a U-turn on Sunday after personnel of the Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC) of the Karachi police were found to be involved in the killing.
Though the police high-ups have suspended all nine ACLC men allegedly involved in the murder, officials only arrested six of them as according to the police, the remaining three had gone into hiding to avoid arrest.
In an unfortunate incident late on Saturday evening in Karachi's posh locality of DHA, a 21-year-old man, Intizar Ahmed, who lived on Khayaban-e-Badban, was found shot dead in mysterious circumstances on Khayaban-e-Ittehad.
Intizar's killing was termed an act of targeted killing by the police in their initial report. However, the case took a U-turn after the ACLC team's involvement was discovered.
Police investigations revealed that Intizar was not shot by target killers. Instead, he was killed by a special team of the ACLC, the Karachi police's specialised cell which deals with the theft of vehicles.
Initially, all nine ACLC personnel were suspended by Criminal Investigation Agency chief DIG Saqib Ismail Memon and an inquiry was ordered against them.
The suspended officials included three inspectors, Tariq Rahim, Tariq Mehmood and Azhar Ahsan Rizvi, two head constables, Ghulam Abbas and Shahid, and four constables, Ghulam Abbas, Fawad Khan, Daniyal and Bilal. It was reported that Mehmood was the ACLC SHO while constables Daniyal and Bilal were gunmen of the ACLC SSP.
"[The suspended personnel] have been shifted to Line Sharifabad, ACLC, Karachi till completion of the inquiry. They shall draw pay and allowances as admissible under the rules during suspension period," reads a letter issued by DIG Memon.
However, six of them were later arrested after the Darakhshan police registered a murder case against them on the complaint of Intizar's family, while the other three managed to escape.
Initial investigation suggests personal enmity behind Karachi police killing
"We have registered a murder case against the ACLC cops on the complaint of the family," explained South police chief SSP Javed Akbar Riaz.
"It was an incident of mistaken identity but we have booked the ACLC men in a murder FIR according to what the parents of the victim demanded," he said, adding that for the past few days vehicles bearing official registration plates were being snatched in the area and a car was also snatched on Saturday.
Speaking to the media outside Jinnah hospital, DIG Memon confirmed that the ACLC police personnel had shot dead the young man. "The ACLC personnel opened fire on the car and hit him. We are looking into this matter," he said.
In their defence, the ACLC personnel claimed they were looking for car lifters who had been involved in the theft of vehicles bearing official registration plates in DHA.
"We had information that the snatchers usually used a white Corolla. We were looking for them for the last few days and had deployed men in plainclothes in the area," said one of the arrested ACLC cops.
"We asked the youth to stop his car. When he didn't stop the car, we opened fire on the vehicle and the young man died."
Intizar was his parents' only child and was studying at a university in Malaysia after completing his O and A Levels from The City School Darakhshan campus. He came to Karachi in November for his winter break.
The deceased's family also held a press conference over the incident, seeking justice from the authorities.
Accompanied by his sister and lawyer Muhammad Asif Khudai, Intizar's father Ishtiaq Ahmed demanded justice for his son. The father expressed no faith in the police and appealed to the chief justice and chief of army staff to provide him justice.
"Intizar had a fight with two men two days back - Fahad and Haider - sons of a lawyer and policeman respectively," the father claimed. He added that it was evident from the multiple bullets fired by the ACLC personnel that they wanted to kill him instead of stopping him.
"There was a clear intention to kill," said the lawyer. "Multiple bullet holes in the car shows the police aimed not to stop him but kill him."
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the incident and directed the police to share the recovered evidence with the deceased's family.