At least six members of the Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC) in Karachi have been taken into custody for allegedly shooting and killing a young man in Defence Housing Authority on Saturday night, police said.
According to Senior Superintendent Police ACLC Muqaddas Haider, the officials had asked Intizar Ahmed, 19, to stop his car. "When he didn't stop the car, they opened fire on the vehicle," the SP said. Ahmed died of multiple gunshot wounds on the spot.
However, officials had earlier claimed that armed assailants on a motorcycle had attacked Intizar's car in the Khayaban-i-Ittehad area.
The SP said that six ACLC officials have so far been taken into custody following the incident.
Earlier in the day, the victim's parents, accompanied by their lawyer Muhammad Asif Khudai, addressed a press conference in Karachi and demanded justice for Intizar.
Intizar, who had been studying in Malaysia, had returned to Karachi in November. "He had no political ties," the family and their counsel told the media, adding that he had visited his friends prior to the accident.
Intizar's father, Ishtiaq Ahmed, said that the car was registered in his son's name.
Khudai dismissed media reports that a female had been in the car with Intizar. "To our knowledge, there was no girl with him, and no such woman or girl has contacted us."
He added that he had not been informed by police of any ACLC personnel being arrested and got to know about the arrests through media.
Ishtiaq and his counsel denied that alcohol, government licence plates and flags of political parties had been recovered from the victim's car.
A senior police officer later told Dawn that a total of nine armed ACLC policemen in civilian clothes riding two motorbikes and a car — all private vehicles — were involved in the incident.
They were deployed in civilian clothes because of a recent spike in car-snatching incidents in DHA, added the officer.
The officer said that the ACLC officials indicated the teenager to stop over suspicion of the car being used in a street crime. However, the teenager did not stop his vehicle ostensibly considering the armed men in civilian clothes as robbers.
The ACLC officials then chased him and opened fire, resulting in the death of the student.
"As many as 16 spent bullet casings fired from 9mm pistol(s) were recovered from the crime scene and sent to forensic lab,” said the senior officer.
The officer said that it could not be confirmed whether someone was travelling with the victim at the time of the incident or not.
The officer confirmed that six ACLC officials were detained and handed over to Darakshan police for further legal action while three others were still at large.
Meanwhile, Darakshan police SHO Aurangzeb Khattak told Dawn that six ACLC officials have been arrested — these include Inspector Tariq Mehmood (SHO ACLC police station), Inspector Azhar Ahsan Rizvi, two head constables Ghulam Abbas and Shahid, and two constables Ghulam Abbas and Fawad Khan.
The SHO said the murder case on complaint of the victim’s father was registered on Saturday night against unidentified persons but the held ACLC officials would now be nominated in the murder.
Three other ACLC officials who are still at large have been identified as Inspector Tariq Rahim, Constable Daniyal and Constable Bilal.
Meanwhile, CIA DIG Saqib Ismail Memon suspended all nine police officers of ACLC with immediate effect, pending inquiry into their conduct.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah took notice of the press conference and summoned the additional inspector general, deputy inspector general South and others to CM House, according to a statement issued by CM House.
The AIG told Shah that FIR had been registered in the presence of Ishtiaq Ahmed and police had arrested the ACLC officials. He added that police are investigating the matter.
CM Shah directed police officials to discuss the evidence recovered with the family of the deceased and to conduct the investigation in a professional manner.
He asked the senior officials to arrest any police officers involved in the incident and asked for daily reports regarding the matter.
Shah later visited the grieved family at their residence and offered for a judicial inquiry to be initiated into the matter. He issued directions for ensuring transparent investigation into the incident.