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GUJRAT: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has formed a high-ranking inquiry team to investigate the tragic death of 12-year-old Hamid Chughtai after being hit by vehicles included in the cavalcade of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Lalamusa on Friday.

Police have formally nominated the vehicle, which first hit the boy, into the already registered case. The vehicle has been identified with the help of video footage.

The inquiry team is being headed by Additional Inspector General of Police Abu Bakar Khuda Bakhsh with a retired inspector general of prison police, Kaukab Nadeem Warraich, and Additional Secretary of Home Department Tahir Qayyum as its members.

The inquiry team began its work by Saturday afternoon in Lalamusa where it inspected the site of the accident, besides recording statements of witnesses, the complainant and other people.

The inquiry team will submit its detailed report to the Punjab chief minister. The timeframe under which the team has been asked to complete the report is yet to be ascertained, but sources in the police said that the team might complete its report within a few days.

A BMW vehicle carrying registration number SS 785 has been identified by the police. The vehicle has been nominated in the FIR number 216/17 lodged with the Lalamusa city police station on the complaint of Fazal Elahi, an uncle of the deceased boy.

The owner of the vehicle and the person who was driving it at the time of the accident have so far not been traced.

Gujrat SP Maaz Zafar told Dawn that the police were making all-out efforts to trace and arrest the owner and the driver of the vehicle.

Meanwhile, the deceased boy was laid to rest in a local graveyard on Saturday. Funeral prayers for him, held at the Behari Colony’s public park along the GT Road, was attended by Minister of State Jafar Iqbal, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s lawmakers Mian Tariq Mehmood Dinga and Ashraf Deona, former finance minister of Punjab Tanveer Ashraf Kaira, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s district president in Gujrat Chaudhry Ilyas, Jamaat-i-Islami’s (JI) emir in Gujrat Dr Tariq Saleem, chairman of Lalamusa municipal committee Nadeem Asghar Kaira and a large number of local people.

Rehmat, father of the deceased boy, was said to be in bad health since he heard the news of his son’s death on Friday when he reportedly suffered some heart problems. He attended the funeral prayers and was sent back home because of his bad condition.

According to sources, Rehmat is a poor man and works as a labourer.

Strict security arrangements were made during the funeral prayers as well as during the visit of the inquiry team in Lalamusa where senior police officers along with a heavy contingent of personnel were deployed throughout the day.

JI Emir Sirajul Haq is scheduled to visit Lalamusa on Sunday morning where he will offer his condolences to the grieved family.

A JI spokesperson in Gujrat, Arfan Ahmed Safi, told Dawn that the young man who shifted Hamid to the hospital on a motorcycle rickshaw after the accident was a party member.

Meanwhile, relatives of 50-year-old Khalid Hussain, who also died after being hit by a vehicle in the ousted prime minister’s cavalcade on Friday, have so far not lodged a complaint with the police.

A retired soldier of the army, Mr Hussain was said to be working as a security guard in a private company.

He belonged to Chak Peerana village, located along the GT Road between Lalamusa and Kharian.

According to sources, no official has so far contacted the family of Mr Hussain.

Meanwhile, the heirs of Hamid have declined to accept the financial assistance of Rs1 million from the Punjab government.

Official sources said that Minister of State Jaafar Iqbal, accompanied by the Kharian Assistant Commissioner Azuba Azim, visited the house of the boy to hand over a cheque of Rs1m to his parents, which they declined to accept.

The sources said that the family might accept financial assistance in case of an increase in the amount.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2017

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