A prime suspect in the murder of Geo TV reporter Wali Khan Babar was killed on Saturday morning – but there are two versions of how it happened.
According to the police, the shoot-out took place on Saturday morning as Liaquat Ali was on his way to apparently target Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqqiqi chief Afaq Ahmed.
They say the encounter took place near Village restaurant, Seaview where the police arrived after being tipped off at around 2am. They said there were six men on three motorcycles and the police claimed that the men fired first. PC Waqas was wounded and in the retaliatory fire Liaquat Ali, 34, and Rashid aka Chamber, 26, were injured.
Four men escaped. The police seized two TT pistols and a motorcycle and took the men to Civil hospital where Ali died. Rashid is admitted and is under police security. Staff at Civil hospital who did not want to be named, said that that both men were shot in the legs, Liaquat twice and Rashid once. Liaquat succumbed to his injuries at around 7:30am because of the bleeding.
The police have claimed that the men were planning to target MQM-H chief Afaq Ahmed, who now lives in DHA. “They followed Afaq in the night but missed their target and returned to wait for him,” maintained Darakshan SHO Shafiq Tanoli, who has been playing a key role in the Wali Khan Babar case. “They are hardcore terrorists […] and even the Karachi police are afraid of them. They arrived one week earlier from South Africa with the task of killing Afaq Ahmed.”
SHO Tanoli said that Ali was involved in 36 cases of target killing, including Wali Babar’s and that of three investigation officers in the case. Rashid was wanted in over one dozen cases of target killing and 20 cases of kidnapping for ransom. “They killed my brother and cousin,” said Tanoli. “Now I am the only one left in the investigation team. They could even kill me but before they do that at least I can prevent them from taking another 50 people down.”
The family’s version
The family has claimed that it was an extrajudicial killing. According to them, Liaquat had arrived home on Friday from Punjab and had left home with Rashid to visit his spiritual faith healer in Gulshan-e-Iqbal when the police arrested them. “He came with offerings from Data Darbar and headed to Pir sahib’s house when the police caught him,” the family said. “Rashid said that first they took them to the highway and told them to run. They then shot them from the back and then roamed around in the police mobile for one hour before taking them to hospital.”
Liaquat Ali’s brother-in-law Azam Ali received his body from the hospital and took it home to Abul Hassan Ispahani in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Town. Liaquat’s funeral prayers were offered near the home and he was buried at Paposh Nagar graveyard. He had nine sisters and two children and used to run a TV cable business. SHO Tanoli said that Liaquat Ali was also an employee of the city government.
The police have registered three FIRs Nos. 212/12, 213/12 and 213/12 under Sections 395, 324, 353, 427 and 13 against them on the complaint a citizen named Farooq.
Wali Babar link
Geo TV reporter Wali Babar was killed on January 13, 2011 in Liaquatabad when he was on his way home from office.
Liaquat Ali’s Suzuki Cultus was used in the murder. “In the Wali Babar case, Liaquat Ali was the mastermind,” alleged SHO Tanoli. “He fired the fatal burst from his Kalashnikov.” They were a team of 22 men but only 10 of them were listed in the FIR, he said.
On April 7, the police arrested five suspects Shahrukh aka Mani, Tahir Naveed aka Polka, Faisal Nafsiyati, Mohammad Ali Rizvi and Shakeel Malik in the Babar case. SHO Tanoli said two more men named in the FIR, Faisal Mehmood aka Mota and S M Kamran, are on the run and were declared absconders in court.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2012.