Two men were killed and four passersby were injured during a botched robbery in Gunjmandi on Friday.
Police said that six armed robbers entered Shabbir Hussain’s prize bonds shop in Raja Bazaar and killed two employees, Javed Akhtar and Nadeem Ahmed. According to a relative of the shop owner, the robbers took prize bonds worth Rs10 million, along with cash and other valuables. While fleeing from the crowded market, the robbers fired warning shots, injuring four others, including three traders and a woman.
After the bloody incident, enraged traders in the market came onto the road in protest and began burning tyres. After receiving information about the incident, Member Provincial Assembly Shehryar Riaz reached the spot and assured the protesting traders that the culprits will be dealt with an iron hand. He also assured the traders that government will take measures to ensure the safety of traders.
Eyewitness including the shop owner’s brother-in-law, Sheikh Nadeem, said the incident took place around 5pm. Javed and Nadeem were present at the counter, while the security guard shared by nearby shops was away.
Two of the six robbers entered the shop and demanded prize and currency. Upon resistance, they opened fire, while the other four stood guard outside. Nadeem and Javed were both hit by gunshots and died on the spot.
After looting the shop, the robbers started firing to scare away onlookers as they left the crowded market. Four passersby, Asif, Naveed, Asad and an unnamed woman sustained injuries.
Sheikh Nadeem said his brother-in-law was ill and had not come to work. He added, “The police, as usual, reached the shop after an hour.”
He demanded the Punjab government and senior police officials take notice of the incident and the slow response.
Gunjmandi Police SHO Shabbir Khan said the incident was unusual because forex and prize bonds shops usually remain closed after Friday prayers; this shop was the only one open in the area. He said the shop was also usually closed after Friday prayers, but was oddly open today. He could not verify the value of looted items.
The bodies of the deceased were taken to DHQ Hospital. The police said that an FIR will be registered after the autopsy report is provided to them.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2011.