ISLAMABAD: A day after Islamabad Police officials ventured into neighbouring Haripur and killed three men, wanted for attacking a fellow police officer in the federal capital, officials have stated that they had reacted in self-defence when the suspects fired on them.
One of the suspects was injured while another was unhurt. Both were apprehended and turned over to the Haripur police. Two police officials were also injured in the exchange of fire.
In the early hours of September 16, two policemen were patrolling on the IJP Road in the capital on their motorbike when they saw six men holding up a car near Sector I-8/1. When the policemen approached to investigate the scene, the gangsters reportedly opened fire on them, critically injuring Constable Akbar Ali.
In the confusion, the assailants managed to steal Ali’s submachine gun and a magazine with 30 bullets in them.
Following the incident, the Industrial Area police had registered a case of dacoity, attempted murder, and terrorism against the unidentified gunmen and launched investigations.
Industrial Area SHO Inspector Irshad Ali Abro, who is also the investigating officer in the case, said that the suspects were wanted in a number of other cases of robberies, snatching and even murders in various precincts of Islamabad apart from the attack on the police officer on IJP Road.
He added that they had first tried to trace the car in which the suspects had fled. The car’s owner ultimately disclosed the identity of the suspects to the police.
Two of the suspects, he said, had fled to Parachinar in the Kurram tribal district. The police then tried to track the men through their cell phones. Initially, officers said that the phones of the suspects were turned off, hence, they could not be traced.
On Monday, the police found out that the suspects had turned their phones on and their location was traced to Haripur.
Subsequently, a police team comprising 12 officials, riding in two vehicles, set off for Haripur to arrest the suspects in line with proper police protocol.
Abro said that the raiding team was making its way to the Khalabut police station in Haripur to formally request help in apprehending the culprits when around 3:10pm the tracker showed that the suspects were present in the immediate vicinity.
“They apparently had just had lunch and were piling into their car when the police team spotted them,” the Islamabad Police officer said, adding, “The criminals opened fire on the police first and police retaliated.”
The police team managed to kill three of the suspects on the spot while one was injured and one was unhurt. The suspects were quickly apprehended and turned over to the Haripur police.
Those killed were identified as Muneer Hussain, Lal Hussain and Abdullah Khan. Abdullah was a Haripur local while the other two hailed from the Kurram Tribal District.
The two suspects arrested were identified as Muhammad Ashraf — who was injured in the exchange of fire, and Qasim Munir — remained unhurt.
Two police constables injured in the encounter were identified as Mudassir and Ghazanfar. One was struck in the leg while the other had suffered a minor injury to his face.
Meanwhile, the station house officer of the Khalabut police station in Haripur confirmed the sequence of events of the incident to The Express Tribune.
SHO Sardar Shakeel said that local police were not informed about the arrival and intentions of the Islamabad Police team beforehand and only learnt of their presence after the shootout had taken place.
He added the suspects were absconders in a terrorism case registered against them in the federal capital.
However, a senior police officer in the federal capital has disclosed that the suspects were killed after they opened fire on officials during a ‘hot pursuit’.
He said the police had been chasing the suspects from Taxila. A few hours into the pursuit, when they reached Haripur, the suspects allegedly opened fire on the raiding party. The police team, he said, had little choice but to retaliate.
“The police showed restraint and arrested one suspect with a weapon. The injured suspect was taken to a nearby hospital by the raiding police party,” the officer told The Express Tribune, adding that both the suspects were then turned over to the Haripur police.
The officer said that they had arrest warrants for all the suspects involved in Monday’s incident from an anti-terror court in the Islamabad. He explained that they were empowered under Section 166 of CrPC to act in another province.
He added that they had previously arrested four men linked to the gang who are currently in the Adiala jail on judicial remand.
Responding to a question, he said that they had yet to recover the official gun which had been stolen last month.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2018.