Up in arms: Protest against ‘staged encounter’ held

Two suspects still absconding.

Our Correspondent July 25, 2014

FAISALABAD: Several relatives of a man killed on Wednesday in what police called an armed encounter with robbers staged a protest demonstration on Thursday.

Salim Yaqub, a resident of Chak 427-GB, had been killed in Jaranwala Saddar. The demonstration was held in front of Allied Hospital. The protestors blocked access to Jail Road and Sargodha Road. Naveedul Hassan, one of the protestors, alleged that police had detained Salim Yaqub in connection with a case recently and then killed him in a staged encounter. He said that police had accused Yaqub of being a robber.

Hassan said that some men had robbed Bilal Ahmed, a resident of Chak 107-GB and Kashif Ali at gunpoint near Bhatta Mor. The men had shot Ahmed after he resisted them and fled, leaving the injured man in a critical condition.  He said that a police team brought Yaqub to the scene and shot him dead in a staged encounter, accusing him of being one of the absconding men. Hassan said the police had killed Yaqub to cover up its own failings. The demonstrators chanted slogans against Saddar police and asked for immediate action against the officials responsible for the killing. A police team from Civil Lines assured the demonstrators that the culprits would be brought to book soon. The protest was then called off.

Speaking to The Express Tribune Jaranwala Saddar Station House Officer (SHO) Malik Tariq dismissed the allegations. He said that a police team had reached Bhatta Mor after being informed about the robbery. Tariq said that the police team had pursued the suspects, encircled them near Chak 106-GB and had urged them to surrender. The men resorted to firing at the police instead. The SHO said that one of the men, later identified as Salim Yaqub was killed in the exchange of fire while the others managed to flee. Tariq said that Yaqub was a hardened criminal who had been involved in a number of murder and robbery cases. He added that the police had recovered a number of arms from the deceased after the encounter.  Tariq said that two teams had been constituted under the direction of City Police Officer Dr Haider Ashraf to nab the absconding men.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2014.

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