LAHORE: Old enmities run deep and a stark reminder of this was the murder of five members of a family, including two teenaged boys, who were shot dead on Tuesday morning in the Barki area of Lahore.
The bitter rivalry started in 2007 over a land dispute which has already claimed nine lives. Seven of the slain individuals belonged to the Lathia group and two were from the Kothi Wala Group. A total of five members, from both groups, were in jail for these murders.
The victims, residents of Phularwan village, had set off on a tractor trolley to bring fodder from nearby fields for the animals. They were halfway across their journey when the assailants, heavily armed with sophisticated weapons, ambushed the victims. They opened indiscriminate fire, leaving the victims in a pool of blood. The gunmen fled from the scene after carrying out the attack.
Land dispute: One killed, three injured in firing
The villagers, after hearing the gunshots, rushed to the scene and found the victims in critical condition. The wounded ultimately breathed their last on the spot.
They were identified as Qurban Ali, 50, and Abdul Rasheed, 45; both sons of Ghulam Ali. The others included Bashir Ahmad, 32, son of Hakim Ali 32, Tanveer Ali, 16, and Qadir Ali, 16. Tanveer had recently passed his matriculation examination.
Witnesses called police and rescue teams which reached the spot and collected forensic evidence from the crime scene, while also recording statements. The incident created a great deal of panic in the locality.
Family members, relatives and nearby locals gathered at the scene and held a protest against the brutal murders. The crime scene soon turned into a mourning procession as a huge number of relatives of the victims were unable to contain their emotions.
Police tried to take the bodies to the morgue for an autopsy, but the legal heirs of the victims took the corpses to Mall Road and placed them outside the Punjab Assembly. The road was blocked for all kinds of traffic.
Tanveer’s mother said the gunmen had done her a grave injustice against by depriving her of her son. “He was too young to be killed in this brutal murder. He had just passed his matriculation,” she said, adding the achievement was a great sense of pride for the family. The woman was left wondering how she could muster up the courage to go back to a home to which her son would never return.
The father of the deceased brothers — Qurban Ali and Abdul Rasheed — said he lost two sons, ass many nephews and a grandson; all of whom lived in the same house. “The house, which once echoed with laughter, chatter and noise, will now have be filled with a deafening silence,” he said. The prospect of returning home was clearly haunting a devastated Ghulam Ali.
DIG Operations Shahzad Akbar Rana and other senior police officers approached the protesters on Mall Road and, after providing assurances of justice, convinced them to leave. The demonstrators subsequently allowed the police to take the bodies to the morgue for an autopsy.
Violent dispute: Two killed, two injured in clash
Later, the mourners went to Zaman Park and held a sit-in outside the residence of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan. They vowed not to leave unless the accused were taken into custody. However, after an intervention from authorities, the family members and protesters left for their village.
At the village itself, the family members of the victims attacked the houses of the accused and set them on fire.
SSP Investigations Awais Malik confirmed that the tragic incident was triggered by an old enmity. He said that teams, including members of the CIA, were formed to arrest the gunmen. He assured stern police action and vowed that justice would take its due course.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2018.