KARACHI: A college student selling a mobile phone was killed while a suspected robber posing as a buyer was wounded late on Sunday night when trigger-happy policemen in plain clothes fired at them in the Sindhi Muslim Cooperative Housing Society, officials said on Monday.

The policemen, however, fled the area in a police mobile van shortly after the episode that drew the attention of the top officials who ordered an impartial probe into the incident and sought recommendations for legal action against the policemen.

The policemen involved in the shooting and the police mobile van remained untraceable, officials told Dawn.

According to the Ferozabad police, 21-year-old Abrar-ul-Hasan, a resident of Keamari, had advertised his mobile phone for sale on a website (OLX). He was later contacted by a man, Dil Nawaz, over phone and they agreed to meet in Saddar on Sunday night for the deal.

The police said Dil Nawaz posing as a buyer remained seated in his car near Lucky Star when Abrar approached him. He examined the mobile phone and kept it with him. As the seller demanded Rs15,000, the suspect drove the car in an attempt to flee. But the young man managed to get into the car. When they reached the SMCHS, the policemen travelling in a mobile van saw them fighting with each other inside the car. “The policemen might have assumed it as a kidnapping or robbery bid and opened fire on them,” said Gulshan-i-Iqbal superintendent of police Dr Fahad Ahmed, who is also holding the charge of Jamshed Town SP.

Both the seller and the imposter sustained gunshot wounds, the officer said. The police mobile van did not belong to the area police station, he added. It is not known that why the policemen involved in the incident disappeared afterwards. Some witnesses said the mobile van belonged to the Crimes Investigation Agency (CIA) while others said it belonged to the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) of police, according to the police officer.

SP Ahmed said the wounded men were shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, where Abrar was pronounced dead.

Initial probe indicated that the wounded man, Dil Nawaz, had allegedly been involved in cheating people. The number plate of the white Honda City car that he was travelling in was “fake”, he said.

The officer told Dawn that the police obtained CCTV footage from the area and it showed that “the mobile, which resembles the police mobile” was chasing the car from Lucky Star in Saddar.

The police spokesperson said that IG police A.D. Khowaja took notice of the media reports that the policemen in civilian dress and travelling in a mobile van gunned down the youth. The police chief directed the Karachi-East Zone DIG to carry out fair, impartial and transparent investigation into the incident and submit a detailed report to him with recommendations for legal action against the policemen.

Ferozabad SHO Kansan Dean, meanwhile, said they had invited the victim’s father to lodge an FIR so that formal investigation could be initiated to trace the culprits.

Four CTD policemen booked

On Monday night, the police said the SMCHS incident had been ‘resolved’ as it had been proved during the investigation that four personnel of the Counter-Terrorism Department were involved in it, according to the CTD head, Raja Umer Khattab.

He said he held an inquiry into the incident during which three policemen surrendered before him and narrated the event while the fourth one, who had actually fired the shots, was taken into custody from his home.

The held policemen were identified as Saeed, Rashid, Nadeem and Kaleem — all constables.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2016