RAWALPINDI, Aug 10: Six members of a family, including four brothers, were shot dead outside their homes in Gulistan Colony after Thursday midnight.
The mass murder took place not far from the city’s biggest public park, Ayub Park, located close to the official residences of high ranking army officers.
Shortly after the firing, contingents of Elite Force and intelligence officials arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area.
The crime scene was being guarded by the police who had set up a picket at the end of the street where the killings took place.
Four of the victims were brothers who were settled in Kuwait. They were visiting their families for Ramazan and to celebrate Eidul Fitr.
According to relatives of the victims, it all happened when the brothers –Suleman Qureshi, 52, Pervez Qureshi, 50, Javaid Qureshi, 42 and Aurangzeb Qureshi, 37 – along with Adnan Qureshi 20, son of Pervez, and their nephew Nadeem Qureshi, 22, left their house after receiving a call from a relative, Waheed Qureshi, who had asked them to come to his house to settle a dispute between him and another party with whom he had quarreled over playing of football in Ayub Park two days ago.
Nasir Hussain, who is associated with Civil Lines police, had lodged a complaint with the police against Sagheer and Waheed, claiming that they had quarrelled with him and his brother a couple of days ago during which he had been shot in the hand.
As they were heading towards Waheed Qureshi’s house located in Shah Chan Chiragh Mohallah, Gulistan Colony, they came across Waheed and his accomplices at the end of the street where they started quarreling. Waheed and his nephews got annoyed and opened fire on Javaid and his brothers killing five of them on the spot. Javaid Qureshi later succumbed to his injuries at District Headquarters Hospital.
Superintendent of Police Potohar Division Haseeb Shah said the main suspect, Waheed Qureshi, escaped from the scene while his accomplice Sagheer Abbasi, who also got injured in the attack, was arrested and later shifted to Benazir Bhutto Hospital.
Ghulam Nabi, the uncle of the four brothers, who lives close to where the shooting took place, said: “I was at home when I heard gunshots from outside, but did not see anybody in the street.”
He said: “Later it emerged that six men from my family had been gunned down by nobody else than people from our own family.”
He further said he along with his family members shifted the victims to DHQ hospital in private cars.
Another man, who identified himself as a close relative of the victims, said: “It was doomsday for the family as coffins of six members of the family were being taken away from one house.”
Arshad Nazeer, who identified himself as one of the cousins of Pervez Qureshi, told Dawn that he rushed to the street on hearing gunshots.
“Had the police responded to Nasir’s complaint immediately and a police officer visited the crime scene and launched investigation, six lives would have been saved,” a senior police official, who did not want to be named, said.
When contacted, Deputy Superintendent of Police, in charge Civil Lines circle Malik Tariq said there had been a quarrel between Nasir and Waheed Qureshi over a petty issue.
He said the four brothers were playing the role of mediators and were trying to settle the dispute between Waheed and the other group. However Waheed got infuriated with the four brothers over some issue and gunned them down in the street.
The DSP said a case under Anti-Terrorism Act, murder and other relevant sections of the law had been registered with the Civil Lines police against 14 persons.
Of the 14 suspects, eight people, including one woman, had been arrested, while raids were underway to arrest the others including Waheed and his wife.
According to preliminary postmortem report, each of the victims had received two to three bullets.
Moving scenes were witnessed at the homes of the victims when their coffins were offloaded from ambulances.