LAHORE, Dec 11: As the three-member police team constituted to investigate the killing of a 22-year-old youth in an alleged Ghalib Market (Gulberg) police encounter made no ‘visible’ progress in the case, the Lahore district and sessions judge on Tuesday ordered a judicial probe and appointed magistrate Imtiaz Ahmad as inquiry officer.
Inspector General of Police Mohammad Habibur Rehman had requested the sessions judge to hold a judicial inquiry after a CCTV (close circuit television) footage aired by a local news channel raised serious doubts about the authenticity of the police encounter in which a youth was killed on Dec 7 as the police claimed he was a robber on the run.
A source close to the police inquiry team told Dawn that the IGP was focussing on the judicial inquiry as the departmental probe was usually considered biased.
He said police had collected sufficient evidence, witness account and 25-minute CCTV footage to be presented before the judicial officer.
He said a meeting of senior police officers concerned held on Tuesday also put focus on the outcome of the judicial inquiry.
He said after the meeting the police officers also took the chief minister into confidence.
The police inquiry team, headed by DIG Zulfikar Cheema, though conducted some investigation, the team did not conclude its findings, he said.
The source said several news channels approached the authorities to get the CCTV footage sealed by the police as a part of investigation, but they were not entertained.
He claimed that the youth was seen in the footage while firing at police before being shot to death.
IGP Habibur Rehman told Dawn that the police inquiry team had been dissolved as two parallel inquires did not technically make sense.
He said the judicial inquiry might take 10 days.
The IGP said the previous police record declared the deceased a robber who also faced imprisonment.
A police investigator associated with the autopsy said the victim suffered two bullet wounds to his ribs at least two hours after he was killed in second crossfire with the police.
He said initial medical report released confirmed the cause of death with bullet wounds to the neck and chest. He said police had also obtained record of the youth, who had a criminal background and was detained twice in two jails.
The investigator said the youth used three names - Zeeshan Abbas, Mohsin Abbas and Ali, adding the Criminal Record Office of Lahore police identified him as Zeeshan Abbas of Chakwal.
He said the youth was imprisoned in the Camp Jail in January 2011 in connection with a robbery-cum-injury case registered with Shahdara police. He secured his release in July 2012.
He further said the suspect later was sent to Rawalpindi Adiyala Jail for three months in connection with another robbery case.
He claimed that the victim’s fingerprint and photograph data was already available with the CRO Branch.
Meanwhile, the family took the body to Chakwal district after post-mortem examination conducted by Mian Munshi Hospital doctors at Mayo Hospital’s morgue at 12 noon.