KARACHI, June 4: A young man was gunned down in Shah Faisal Colony 2 by Rangers personnel in controversial circumstances on Tuesday.
They killed Ghulam Haider, 30, who reportedly did not stop his car after an accident. His cousin Abdul Salam was also with him.
“There are different versions of the incident,” said SSP-East Imran Shaukat.
He said one version was that the victim hit a motorcyclist, who received bone injuries, and when the Rangers motioned him to stop, he did not comply. “The fact is that the man lost his life and the police are investigating the case,” added the SSP.Shah Faisal SP Usman Bajwa told Dawn that Mr Haider apparently tried to escape when he became involved in an accident.
However, quoting the Rangers version, the senior police officer said that at some distance, Mr Haider stopped the vehicle. In the meantime, the police officer said, the Rangers personnel heard gunfire and assumed that the person sitting in the car had opened fire on them. The Rangers personnel returned fire. As a result, Mr Haider received a single bullet in the head, which proved fatal, said the police officer.
The SP said they were waiting for a post-mortem examination report but apparently there was a single gunshot wound in the head.
He said the Rangers were conducting a search operation in the area purportedly following a violent clash between two groups on Sunday that claimed three lives.
He said the victim’s cousin Abdul Salam was with him in the car but remained unhurt. Mr Salam later told the media at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where the body of his cousin was taken, that the Rangers opened fire on them when they did not pull up.
The SP said the victim was a resident of Memon Goth, and the two were going home after visiting a Shah Faisal Colony hospital.
The SP said Mr Salam had given a statement to the police which would definitely be incorporated into an FIR against Rangers personnel if the relatives lodged it after Mr Haider’s burial.
He said there were four to five Rangers personnel as per the statement, but the FIR would be registered against the one Rangers man who pulled the trigger.
However, a Rangers official insisted that the car riders were involved in a hit-and-run accident, leaving a motorcyclist injured.
He added that when the Rangers personnel motioned them to stop, they tried to hit them also. The Rangers opened fire on them, which resulted in the death.
In a late-night development, the Rangers director general suspended the personnel who shot dead the youth in Shah Faisal Colony and ordered an investigation into the incident. The personnel was in the custody of the Rangers and till late in the night was not handed over to the police.
“Law-enforcement agencies have killed 43 persons from January to April 2013,” according to a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report. Of them, two persons were killed by Rangers, adds the report.“During the last few days, extrajudicial killings and even disappearances have increased in Karachi that need to be investigated,” said HRCP chairperson Zohra Yusuf.
Talking to Dawn, she said police powers for Rangers in cities might not be ‘suitable’, but added that Karachi’s law and order situation and especially the presence of the Taliban required action by the paramilitary force. However, Ms Yusuf suggested, rules should be framed for Rangers’ actions as the situation of cities like Karachi was such that the residents faced hardship whenever an action or operation was carried out as it was evident from an operation in Lyari recently.
A young man, Sarfraz, was killed in the Benazir Bhutto Park in Clifton in June 2011. The extrajudicial killing of the youth was captured by a TV cameraman who was there on official duty, and subsequently the footage of the murder was aired on TV channels, prompting the apex court to take a suo motu notice of the incident.