“My son and a servant were killed by a land-grab mafia, and two other servants have been critically injured, but the police have not arrested any of the criminals,” Saleem Akhtar, a farmer, told a press conference on Friday.
Akhtar and his cousins Muhammad Laeeq and Muhammad Yousaf, farmers in Alipur, Muzaffargarh, told media that they had had a dispute with a gang wanted for kidnapping and murder.
They said on July 10, Rajab Ali, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Jafar and Muhammad Abid came to their fields and shot and killed Akhtar’s son, Waseem Abbas. Three other servants, Hashim Ali, Mukhtaar Ahmad and Inayatullah, who were working in the field, were injured as well. Abbas died on the spot and the servants were taken to Bahawal Victoria Hospital. Ali succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital, they said.
When Alipur Saddar police were informed of the incident, they did not rush to the scene, said Akhtar. Police recorded the statements of the injured persons 12 days after the incident and then registered a case against the gang members, he said.
Akhtar said that the police had pressed Inayatullah to change his statement, but he did not.
He said that SHO Noor Muhammad had then arrested the criminals but later released them without seeking remand from a court.
“The criminals have now threatened to kill my family if I don’t pay them Rs15 million,” said Akhtar, “They are wanted in several cases in Sindh and Balochistan.” He said that he had fled Alipur in fear. “My son’s murderers have bought off the police and are roaming freely,” he said.
SHO Noor Muhammad said that they had taken two weeks to verify the facts and had registered an FIR accordingly. He said that the people he had interrogated had been found innocent and had to be released.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2013.