Daylight murder rocks courthouse

Murder suspect falls victim to revenge plot orchestrated by brother-in-law

Qaiser Shirazi/Saleh Mughal February 28, 2024


A murder accused was shot and killed allegedly by his brother-in-law in the premises of the judicial complex in Rawalpindi city on Tuesday, witnesses and police said. The daylight shooting at the “well-guarded” place in the city’s downtown left a question mark on the so-called and tall police claims of tight security.

The shooting incident took place in the jurisdiction of the Civil Lines police station. The suspect was taken into custody from the crime scene moments after he confessed to the crime at the crime scene and invited the cops present nearby.

The firing at the judicial complex, which is usually visited by hundreds of complainants and a good number of judges and their staff daily, once again exposed the security cover for courts by the police. Soon after the incident, an investigation was launched to determine how the accused entered one of the most sensitive places with a weapon.

According to the details, accused Ali Shah, who had allegedly murdered his wife Aleema Khan in the Rawat area and was imprisoned at the Adiala Central Jail in connection with the June 2023 murder case, was brought to a court for hearing in the case.

Ghafar Khan, the brother of Ali’s wife, was already present there. As soon as Ali reached the premises around 9am, suspect Ghafar crossed the police barricade and opened fire at Ali, who was handcuffed. The victim collapsed on the spot.

Soon after the incident, the suspect shouted, "My mission is complete. I am surrendering for arrest. He [Ali] was my enemy and I killed him.” Some cops escorting the victim and deployed at the judicial complex rushed to capture the suspect along with the weapon.

Ali had to appear in the court of an Additional Sessions Judge while Accused Ghaffar entered the judicial complex with a pistol at 9am. The accused said that the pistol was in his shalwar/trousers and he was waiting for the deceased.

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Ali, who was being taken back to Bakshi Khana after appearing in the court, made a TikTok video of himself and also talked to his relatives over the phone on the second floor of the building. Over time, Ghaffar approached Ali and opened an indiscriminate fire.

Three cops escorting Ali first sped away in panic but returned a few moments after the suspect confessed to the crime. The body was shifted to the district headquarters hospital for a post-mortem examination and later handed over to the heirs.

CPO takes notice

Rawalpindi City Police Officer Syed Khalid Hamdani took notice of the incident and asked for a report of the incident from the Pothohar SP. An hour after the incident, the CPO claimed that the police took timely action and arrested the accused.

Two weeks ago, the Punjab police chief had announced while standing at the judicial complex that he had made the Rawalpindi security “A plus” after spending billions of rupees. A week ago, Adnan Chaudhary, the former provincial parliamentary secretary of the PTI was killed close to the judicial complex.

It was established after the shooting that all six security walk-through gates at the entrances of the judicial complex and the District Courts were completely dysfunctional. Accused Ghaffar told the police that he was not frisked at the entry. Most of the CCTV cameras were also found damaged.

Taking notice of this horrifying murder, the District and Sessions Judge also expressed his anger and ordered to update the security immediately. President of the District Bar Association, Intizar Mehdi Shah also expressed his anger over the security lapses and demanded that all faulty security cameras and walk-through gates be fixed.

Fifth major incident

The fifth major incident in the Rawalpindi courts and judicial complex in the last three years has raised questions over the security measures of the police. A senior judge of the Lahore High Court’s Rawalpindi bench and the Punjab also sought a report of this incident.

Meanwhile, the Civil Lines police station registered a murder case and would seek Ghaffar’s physical remand on Wednesday (today).

After the incident, a good number of policemen intensified the checking of visitors at entry points of the judicial complex and the district courts.

According to the sources, the security system of the judicial complex and the district courts has been declared completely ineffective and it has been decided to upgrade. The District and Sessions Judge has issued strict orders to repair all defective walk-through gates.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2024.


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