DERA GHAZI KHAN:
A man killed at least seven people and injured 14 others in indiscriminate firing in a bazaar in Pul Sheikhani locality of Shah Sadar Din area on Sunday. The attacker was also killed by local people, raising the death toll in the incident to eight.
Fear and panic spread in the area after the incident and the district police officer arrived at the scene along with a large contingent. The police cordoned off the area after the suspected attacker was killed.
The Punjab chief minister also took notice of the incident and sought a report from the inspector general of police.
At around 11:30am, an armed man covered by a shawl suddenly pulled out a Kalashnikov and started firing indiscriminately in all directions from the roundabout of the local bazaar of Pul Sheikhani. As a result, 14 people, including two women, were injured and seven killed.
As soon as the incident was reported, Rescue 1122 and police teams reached the spot and cordoned off the entire area. Amid reports of retaliatory firing, people present in the area attacked the shooter with bricks and sticks, killing him on the spot.
The police could not identify the slain gunman till the evening. Confirming the death toll, a police spokesman said the assailant was killed in a police operation.
According to Rescue 1122 District Officer Dr Muhammad Hussain Mian, a local caller reported firing and injuries at 12:03pm. Rescue teams shifted 14 injured people from the spot to Shah Sadar Din and Dera Ghazi Khan hospitals.
The victims include Musa, 89, son of Allah Bakhsh, Kariman, aged 70, son of Ghulam Hussain, Sugharan Mai, 54, wife of Saeed Ahmed, Babel Mai, 60, wife of Muhammad Ramzan, Ghulam Siddiqui, 57, son of Allah Ditta, Habibullah, 60, son of Noor Mohammad, Ghulam Sarwar, 58, son of Allah Ditta, Manzoor Hussain, 45, son of Ghulam Haider, Haji Lal Mohammad, 61, son of Muhammad Mitha, Kamal, son of Elahi Bakhsh, Zubair, son of Musa, and Ghulam Farid, son of Hassan Lashari.
According to local sources, the attacker was suspected to be linked to a gang of criminals called Ladi gang. They claimed that that the name of the person who opened fire in Pul-e-Sheikhani bazaar on the outskirts of Shah Sadar Din was Farid, son of Hassan Lashari, a resident of Sultan Lashari. His family had shifted to Perjigi, they added.
The sources said Ghulam Haider and Manzoor Hussain Lashari, who were killed in the firing, reportedly had an enmity over a monetary dispute. A few days ago, the brother of the attacker was tortured by the deceased for not paying money. They said the assailant continued to search for his other opponents after firing on Haider and Manzoor while continuing to shoot people indiscriminately.
The people ran for cover to save their lives amid the mayhem.
The police said they were continuing their investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar sought a report about the incident from the inspector general of police and expressed heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. He ordered the provision of best medical facilities to the injured. The chief minister said that the miscreants who opened fire did not deserve any lenience.
DPO Omar Saeed Malik was present on the spot along with the investigation team till late in the evening.
Meanwhile, enraged people of the area blocked the Indus Highway at Shah Sadar Din in protest against the attack.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2021.