Victim’s family disputes Sindh police account, claims there were no dacoits

Published: April 18, 2019
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Toddler falls prey to police crossfire in Karachi. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Toddler falls prey to police crossfire in Karachi. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The 19-month-old boy, Ahsan, son of Kashif Sheikh, who was killed in an alleged crossfire between the police and dacoits near Safoora Chowrangi on Tuesday afternoon, was laid to rest on Wednesday. Police have taken the four personnel involved in the incident into custody and have started investigating the matter after registering the case. Meanwhile, the victim’s family claims there were no dacoits present at the scene when the incident occurred.

The funeral prayers were offered near the Ashraf-ul-Madaris at Sindh Balochistan Society in Gulistan-e-Jauhar Block 12 and were attended by a large number of relatives and residents of the area.

Toddler falls prey to police crossfire in Karachi

Family unhappy with FIR

Speaking to the media after the burial, the victim’s grandfather, Haji Abdul Ghani Sheikh and a relative, Advocate Arshad Hussain Sheikh, expressed reservations with the case registered by the Sachal Police. They alleged that the police have registered the case under sections of negligence and carelessness, but this was injustice to the family of the deceased. The case should have been registered under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (murder) and sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act. Abdul Ghani claimed that the case hadn’t been registered according to their statement.

According to the victim’s grandfather, four police officials on two motorcycles fired directly at the rickshaw, which resulted in the minor’s death and left his father injured. “This is clearly an incident of terrorism,” he said, besides demanding the higher authorities to notify an investigation team to ascertain the facts of the incident. A high-level committee, headed by SSP Pir Muhammad Shah, should be created to investigate the matter, demanded the grandfather.

Police account

For his part, Sachal Police Station SHO sub-inspector Javed Abro told the media that the police have started their investigation into the incident after registering the case. Investigators are trying to acquire the CCTV footage of the incident, he said, adding that all the four policemen, head constable Pyar Ali, head constable Khalid Iqbal, constable Abdul Samad and constable Amjad Khan, were currently in their custody and were being interrogated.

The SHO said that the cops’ weapons had also been sent to the forensic laboratory for analysis, which would determine whether the bullet shell recovered from the crime scene belonged to the police personnel or the robbers. The policemen had 9mm pistols and the bullet shell recovered also belongs to a small weapon.

Post-mortem

Meanwhile, the additional police surgeon at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre Dr Sheeraz said that the victim was struck in the chest by a single bullet which was fired from his right. The bullet penetrated his chest and exited from the back.

Dr Sheeraz said that a detailed report of the post-mortem would be issued in a few days, adding that the bullet was fired from a distance of 10 to 15 feet and the same bullet had injured the child’s father. According to the police surgeon, the bullet was fired from a small weapon.

The incident

According to SHO Abro, the police officials were deployed at Mosamiyat for snap checking duty when they informed by a citizen that some dacoits were trying to flee after carrying out a robbery. The police officials started chasing the robbers. At this, the robbers fired at the police officials. In retaliation, one of the police personnel fired a bullet, but the robbers escaped.

The SHO said that the entry regarding the police encounter had been made in the log book of snap checking. The police officials notified the police station about the encounter when they reached the station at the end of their shift. He added that the officials present at the station only found out about the minor’s death after the personnel had left the station.

Case registered against four policemen after crossfire kills toddler

Family’s version

On the other hand, the victim’s grandfather disputed the police’s account, saying there were no dacoits present at the scene when the incident occurred. “My son [Kashif Sheikh], his wife and their two sons were getting into a rickshaw outside the Khalid Bakery when the incident occurred,” he said. “Four policemen on two motorcycles were passing by when they got into a dispute and one of them shot at the other,” he claimed. Unfortunately, the bullet struck the minor, Ahsan, in the chest before also injuring his father in the arm. “No robbers were present at the site nor was there any police encounter,” said Abdul Ghani.

He added that the family wasn’t satisfied with the police investigations and wanted the case to be tried in the anti-terrorism court. 

Published in The Express Tribune, April 18th, 2019.

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