The prime suspect of a fatal gun attack on two students near Karachi's Do Darya area on Sunday reportedly has a "history of violence”, an "unusual interest in firearms" and police have a “strong suspicion” that he was involved in a similar incident in the past, a police official told Dawn on Monday.
Recounting the incident, SSP Javed Akbar Riaz on Monday told Dawn that the two victims — Zafir, 18, and Zaid, 20 — had been traveling in a Mercedes car on Abdul Sattar Edhi Avenue while heading to breakfast at an unspecified location on Sunday morning when their car hit a motorcyclist.
The motorcyclist, identified as Dr Abdul Raheem, is reported to have fallen as a result of the impact and sustained minor injuries. The victims had not stopped after the accident and instead sped away.
Dr Raheem has been identified by police as a colleague of the prime accused, Khawar Husain Burney, even though he himself denies the claim.
"They [the suspects] are all friends who have an interest in heavy motorbikes," SSP Riaz told Dawn while explaining the reasoning behind the police's belief.
After the accident occurred, five to six attackers, who were travelling in three double-cabin vehicles, gave chase to the Mercedes.
SSP Riaz said that, according to the accused, the victims were chased for around two kilometres and, during the chase, the suspects' and victims' vehicles had also hit each other. However, the victims had not stopped as they had been "terrified” by the attackers.
According to the police, the attackers had opened fire on the victims' vehicle at around 9am.
SSP Riaz said that despite claiming that they initially only fired at the vehicle's tyres, the suspects had continued indiscriminate firing on the vehicle even after it stopped, resulting in the death of Zafir and injuries to Zaid.
According to local media reports, the attackers had been filmed on CCTV cameras fleeing the scene soon after.
SSP Riaz said the primary accused, Khawar Burney, had claimed he had opened fire because he was in a “fit of anger” as he thought Dr Raheem "had died in the accident."
However, the officer also stated that an initial probe had suggested that Burney had an unusual interest in firearms and that he keeps a "criminal record."
SSP Riaz said police have received tips suggesting that the suspect may also have been involved in a similar murder in the past.
"Investigators are collecting his police record," he said.
Meanwhile, a judicial magistrate in Karachi has granted police two-day physical remand of the prime suspect to Sahil Police. A murder case has been registered against him.
Culprits will be taken to task, IG vows
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police A.D. Khawaja has said that all culprits involved in the case will be taken to task "irrespective of their influence and position in society".
Talking to media after inaugurating a Madadgar-15 call centre near the Karachi airport, Khawaja said police had arrested the suspects within two hours of the murder and also seized the weapons and the vehicles used in the crime.
Talking about the illegal race of cars and motorcycles near the area where the incident occurred, the IGP said he has issued directions to DIG Azad Khan to look into the matter.