Chiniot police on Tuesday claimed to have killed a robbery suspect in what they called an encounter.
This was followed by a protest demonstration by the family of the deceased accusing the police of extra-judicial killing.
Police said they were tipped about five robbers who had fled after depriving a citizen, Liaqat, a resident of Moazzam Shah Colony, of Rs10,000, his mobile phones and a wrist watch.
They were told that the men had fled towards Rao Bagh Adda.
They said they cordoned off the area and spotted the robbers fleeing towards Pindi Bhatti in a wagon.
When the police got close and signalled the men to stop, the men in the wagon shot at them.
The police hit back. The one driving the vehicle was shot and died on the spot.
The vehicle careened for a few seconds and fell off the road. When the police team checked the vehicles, they found the four men had escaped.
The deceased was identified as Imran Kamoka alias Lamay Bastaywala, a resident of Dhuddiwala, Faisalabad. Police said he was wanted for several robberies across the district.
The body was sent for a post-mortem examination and later handed over to the family.
On receiving the body, the family placed it in front of the police station at the Khata-i-Nawabat Chowk and protested against the police’s “high-handedness”.
Muhammad Arshad, one of the protestors, who introduced himself as a cousin of the deceased, said that the encounter was fake.
He said police had arrested Kamoka three days ago, but had not registered the arrest. On Tuesday, he said, they told him go and later killed him.
He said if the deceased was a robber, he should have been tried in the court.
He said police had taken the law in their hands and “thus there was so much lawlessness in society”.
He demanded that the police chief take notice of corrupt police officials and the increasing number of fake encounters.
He said many people killed in such encounters were innocents.
The protesters dispersed after a police team warned them of baton charge if they did not move.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 9th, 2013.
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