LAHORE: Police on Monday booked PML-N MNA Sohail Shaukat Butt for his alleged involvement in the murder of PPP leader Babar Sohail Butt in Lahore.
Reacting strongly, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has accused the PML-N government of “unleashing terror groups” against PPP workers across Punjab.
Babar Butt was killed by gunmen at his residence in Manawan late on Sunday. According to Qaisar Butt, his brother Babar Butt was sitting in the drawing room along with two others to finalise the programme of meeting Bilawal Bhutto on Monday when Atif alias Ati Butt, Irfan Jutt and Atif Jutt stormed there and fired on him.
“We had an old enmity with the suspects who earlier had killed our father. They were threatening us with dire consequences if we continue to pursue the case,” Qaisar said, adding Babar earlier had survived four attempts on his life.
Qaisar told police that the suspects had killed his brother at the behest of PML-N MNA Sohail Shaukat Butt, Shafqat Ali alias Baga Butt and Sabi Nur Butt.
Police have registered a case under sections 302, 109, 452 and 149 of Pakistan Penal Code and 7-ATA and 148 of Anti-Terrorism Act against the suspects including the PML-N MNA. Qaisar had also nominated Manawan SHO Nasrullah Chatta in his application but police did not include his name in the FIR. However, Chatta has been suspended by DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf.
A senior police officer told Dawn that so far no clue had been found against MNA Sohail Shaukat for his alleged involvement in Babar’s murder. “Initially two suspects (unidentified) have been taken into custody for interrogation,” he said, adding raids were under way to arrest the nominated suspects.
The chief minister has also taken notice of the incident and sought report from Lahore police chief Amin Wains who has constituted a team headed by SP CIA Tariq Mastoi to thoroughly probe the murder case.
Babar Butt had joined the PPP in 2002 and remained Peoples Youth Organisation vice president. He contested election in PP-157 constituency in 2013 and secured more votes than any other losing candidate of his party on the provincial seats in Lahore. Not a single PPP candidate could win a provincial seat from Lahore in the 2013 election.
Babar’s brother Israr Butt was the lone PPP candidate in the local body poll last year who grabbed
the chairman slot in the city. Israr Butt alleged that the murderers of his brother had the backing of Sohail Shaukat and Hamza Shahbaz.
Omar Sharif Bokhari, a close friend of Babar, told Dawn that it was a great loss for PPP especially in Lahore. “PPP always performed well in the constituencies where Babar and his family had political influence.”
Mr Bokari claimed that Babar Butt wanted to be PPP Lahore president but the party was considering him for the slot of general secretary. “PPP gained strength in eastern Lahore after the leadership got differences between the Ghurki and Butt families resolved before the 2008 election,” Bokhari said.
Condemning Babar’s murder, Bilawal warned that patience of the PPP workers should not be tested as the Sharif government could not survive if the jiyalas took to the streetagainstsuch attacks on PPP cadres.
His younger sister Aseefa Bhutto referring to the PML-N men said: “They are still trying to silence us. Hope an investigation is conducted, anyone involved should be prosecuted.”
Former president Asif Ali Zardari has asked the federal and Punjab governments to apprehend the killers and bring them to book.
“Legal action against the perpetrators of this crime as required by Babar Sohail Butt’s family should be initiated,” Zardari said.
Shuakat Basra said: “Shahbaz Sharif is in the habit of taking notice of such incidents and practically doing nothing to redress the grievances of the victim families.
“Shahbaz Sharif is not making public the investigation report about attack on me and my secretary. The murderers of my secretary are still at large and I am receiving life threats while the Punjab government is not providing security to me,” Basra said.
Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2017