Accompanied by scores of villagers, relatives of the eight victims who were gunned down by their rivals on July 11 staged a massive protest in Samahni village in Bhimber district of Azad Kashmir on Thursday to press the police to arrest the assailants.
Led by former members of Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly, Raja Maqsood Ahmed Khan, Raja Razaq Ahmed and Raja Munirullah Khan, and local elders, a large number of people participated in the protest.
The protesters in over a hundred vehicles passed through all major roads and streets of Samahni village, chanting slogans against the government and police for not bringing the assailants to justice.
Shutter-down strikes were also observed in some areas of the village.
The relatives of the victims had earlier launched similar protests giving deadline to the police for the arrest of the assailants. They kept extending the deadlines after getting assurances from the police.
A senior official of Bhimber district, requesting anonymity, said, “Hectic efforts are underway to nab the absconding killers.”
According to police, old enmity between two groups of the same family claimed lives of the eight persons, including a man and his three sons.
The victims were going to Bhimber city from Samahni in a pickup to appear before a court in connection with a murder case when they were ambushed by their rivals, near Garhoon village.
They sprayed a volley of gunshots on their vehicle, killing all of them on the spot and fled.
Raja Sarwar, a relative of the victims who was also heading to Bhimber in a separate vehicle, identified the assailants as Altaf and Shahbaz, sons of Raja Mushtaq, who was killed in July last year.
The deceased, Raja Mumtaz Khan and his three sons
Raja Ayaz, Raja Gohar and Raja Shahzad, along with Amjad, Mubeen, Bilal and Nomi, belonged to Raja Sarwar group.
According to investigation, the enmity between the two groups started when Raja Mushtaq and his accomplices murdered three members of the Raja Sarwar’s family some 18 years back.
The case was tried in court, concluding with reconciliation between the two groups.
However, their enmity was reignited later on, when Raja Mushtaq was gunned down allegedly by the rival group.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.
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