CM orders inquiry into Sindhi nationalist leader’s murder

Published: February 10, 2019
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Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah. PHOTO: PPP/ TWITTER

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah. PHOTO: PPP/ TWITTER

KARACHI: Three days after the cold-blooded murder of Jeay Sindh Tehreek’s Karachi President Irshad Ranjhani, allegedly at the hands of Union Council Nazim Rahim Shah, the Sindh chief minister has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.

In this regard, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah has been directed to write a letter to the Sindh High Court (SHC) registrar, requesting for an inquiry to be initiated into the murder. “We can’t allow any body to take law into his hand,” said the CM.

Irashad Ranjhani was shot dead on February 6 by a UC Nazim, Rahim Shah, in Bhains Colony, within the limits of Shah Latif Police Station. Subsequently, Shah had registered an FIR against the deceased, accusing him of trying to loot his cash.

According to the FIR, Shah, who belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, claimed he had withdrawn Rs1 million from Faysal Bank at Nursery and was returning home to Bhains Colony with his son in their Toyota Vigo. As they approached Baba Kanta, four suspects on two motorcycles intercepted their vehicle and opened fire. “They started firing when my son, who was driving the vehicle, did not stop,” he said, adding, “Two of the dacoits approached from my side and told me to hand over the cash to them.” Instead of giving the cash, said Shah, “I fired four times at the dacoits with my 9MM pistol”. He added that one of the dacoits was injured while the others managed to flee.

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The video

According to a video clip of the incident which later went viral on social media, Shah was seen holding a pistol in his hand. “I have pounded four bullets into his body. Don’t take him to any hospital. Let him die,” he said, threating a man, who was requesting Shah to allow him to shift the injured to a hospital.

“He is my brother. Please allow me to take him to a hospital,” pleaded the unidentified man.  But the UC Nazim refused, waving his pistol and shouting, “He is dacoit”. The injured was lying in a pool of blood amid a mob of helpless people, who watched him die.

According to eyewitnesses, Edhi and Chhipa ambulances were stationed near the crime scene, but were not allowed to take the injured to the hospital. Ranjhani lay at the crime scene for up to 30 minutes, before the Shah Latif police reached the spot.

Instead of taking him to a hospital, however, the police personnel took Ranjhani to the police station, from where he was later shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. This, despite the fact that a law recently passed by the Assembly, mandates medical treatment for injured persons without waiting for legal formalities. According to the initial medical reports, Ranjhani has sustained five bullets wounds on various parts of the body.

Police investigation

Besides the judicial inquiry, the CM has also directed Sindh Police chief IGP Dr Kaleem Imam to conduct an inquiry. This report, besides ascertaining the facts of the incident, must also include the criminal record of the deceased and the killer, the whereabouts of the police when the incident occurred, the post-mortem report, who registered the FIR and what sections have been included in it.

Following the chief minister’s orders, Karachi Police chief Additional IG Ameer Shaikh constituted a team to investigate the case. The team comprises East Zone DIG Amir Farooq, SSP Azfar Mahesar and SSP Investigation II Farrukh Malik.

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Meanwhile, the police’s initial investigation shows that there are four cases registered against Ranjhani. He got arrested in a snatching case in North Nazimabad in 2003 for which case no. 409/2003 was registered against him. On June 20, 2008, he was arrested in Defence Housing Authority and a stolen vehicle and unlicensed pistol was recovered from him and case nos. 262/2008 and 263/2008 are registered against him. Then on February 5, 2013, he was again arrested by Bahadurabad Police with an unlicensed weapon and case no. 30/2013 was registered against him.

Family’s version

Ranjhani’s family, who hail from Dadu termed it an incident of “road rage”, accusing Shah of murdering Irshad without due cause. “My brother was living in Karachi for the last many years and used to trade cattles in Bhains Colony and its adjoining areas,” said Akram Ranjhani, a brother of the deceased. “He was going on motorcycle when he got into an argument with Shah after overtaking him,” he added. 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2019.

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