Three boxers and two of their family members were shot dead on Monday after being kidnapped allegedly by the Lyari gangsters.
According to the police, the victims were also related to the notorious Lyari gangster, Noor Muhammad alias Baba Ladla, and may have been targeted for this reason. The family refuted, however, these claims and said the gangsters killed these men as they had refused to join their ranks.
The killing took away Ismail 34, son of Gul Mustafa, his elder brother, Javed, 38, their two cousins, Shoaib, 19, son of Sher Mohammad, Faisal, 34, son of Gul Mohammad and their maternal uncle, Taj Mohammad, 40, son of Malang. The deceased Ismail has left behind two children while Javed was the father of five children. Faisal left behind three children and Taj left behind his eight children. Taj and Shoaib were professional boxers who have played for the Karachi Electric team. Shoaib's father, Sher Muhammad, was their coach.
Four of the victims - Ismail, Javed, Shoaib and Faisal - had perceived their lives were in danger which is why they moved out of Lyari around 12 days ago. They were living with a female relative in Mawach Goth. Meanwhile, Taj was living in the Faqir Goth locality of Orangi Town.
New heights of brutality
The family accused the commander of Uzair Baloch's group, Sheraz Comrade, of kidnapping these men and then killing them. "The Sheraz Comrade group wanted us to join the gang but we refused as we are sportsmen and did not want to be a part of the gang war," said Munir Baloch, the eldest brother of the two slain brothers. Munir is also a boxer by profession and plays for the Pakistan Navy. Sheraz Comrade lured them into Lyari on Sunday night by asking them to resolve the issue in a jirga, he explained.
According to the witnesses, the alleged gangsters brought the five bodies to their aunt's house in Mawach Goth in a blue Suzuki van and off-loaded the bodies. "The suspects came in at least six motorcycles," recalled a witness. "Even after off-loading the bodies, they knocked the door and called her outside. They asked her to take the bodies to Civil hospital and then they rode away."
As per their directions, the bodies were taken to Civil hospital for autopsy. "All the victims were shot once in their heads at a point-blank range," said one of the doctors who performed their post-mortem.
Who's to blame?
The police suspected that this family was targeted due to their association with the Baba Ladla group. "Both the victims and the culprits knew each other very well," DSP Sohail Afzal told The Express Tribune. "We are also expecting a reaction on their killings by the Ladla group." Afzal said they are trying to gather the victims' criminal records as well.
Meanwhile, the family has lodged an FIR No. 62/14 against Sheraz Comrade and seven of his companions, Nasir Baloch, Saeed Commando, Kamran, Nazeer, Asif, Sultan and Majeed. On the other hand, the police also claimed to have killed one of the nominated gangsters, Nasir Baloch, in an alleged encounter in Lyari.
"We are not saying that Nasir Baloch was behind their murders but the family had nominated him," explained SHO Shafiq. "We are still conducting an operation in Lyari for more suspects and will continue our operations until we nab all of them."
Monday's killings were not the first of its kind. On December 29 last year, a group of armed gangsters had barged into Muzaffar Baig's house in Musharraf Colony and killed the couple and their two sons, after raping the woman and her newly married daughter. The police had believed the family was targeted due to their affiliation with the Baba Ladla group.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2014.
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