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DIG Azad Khan speaks at the press conference.—Online
DIG Azad Khan speaks at the press conference.—Online

KARACHI: Investigators in their initial probe found serious violations of standard operating procedure (SOP) and lack of professionalism on the part of Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC) officials who opened indiscriminate fire on the car of Intizar Ahmed, resulting in his death, South-Zone DIG Azad Khan said on Monday.

The incident took place on Khayaban-i-Ittehad in Defence on Saturday night when nine ACLC officials chased and opened fired on the car of the 19-year-old Malaysia-returned student when he did not stop his car on their indication.

“We have geared up investigation and are trying to collect CCTV footages,” the DIG added.

Addressing the media at his office, he said the investigators also took an informal statement of the girl who was traveling with the victim.

Informal statement of the girl who was travelling with the victim recorded: DIG

“All concerns of the victim’s parents will be addressed and no leniency will be shown to any policeman,” the officer said.

“Liability of each policeman will be determined as two to three ACLC personnel among nine fired at the car.”

Flanked by senior ACLC and South-Zone officials, the DIG, while sharing preliminary investigation details, said the ACLC policemen were deployed in civilian dress, who had to use private vehicles to conceal their identity.

“When two policemen riding a motorbike indicated the teenager to stop his car, he accelerated it, considering them robbers. These policemen in civvies also called up backup force which was also in plain clothes and travelling in private car and motorbikes.

“Deployment of policemen in civilian dress is not an unusual practice as it was also done during the recent knife attacks on women in Gulistan-i-Jauhar but in the Defence case, the SOP was violated,” admitted Mr Khan.

He suggested that some policemen should have been in police uniform as per the SOP.

“Indiscriminate firing at the vehicle also indicated lack of training and professionalism on the part of the police,” he said.

“Therefore, apart from criminal investigation, a departmental inquiry has also been initiated against the nine ACLC personnel.”

The DIG further said that official-vehicle snatching incidents had increased recently which prompted the police to deploy officials in plain clothes to nab the culprits.

“It transpired that the criminals had been travelling in a similar car in which the victim was travelling and therefore the ACLC officials looked at it with suspicion,” Azad Khan claimed.

“The policemen should have demonstrated due care in firing as a girl was also travelling with the teenager. The girl disappeared after the incident. She has been identified and the police through her friends approached her for a statement,” he said.

“She informed the investigators informally that all of a sudden some vehicles had encircled Intizar’s car and opened indiscriminate fire on it. We are corroborating her statement by the CCTV footage collected from the crime scene.

“Since she is a witness, the police will provide her protection and consider her privacy before recording her formal statement.”

Parents’ concerns

The DIG South revealed that the parents had expressed certain concerns, which would be addressed.

He recalled that when the father, Ishtiaq Ahmed, had talked with some TV channels on the spot on Saturday night he was not aware of the entire situation.

The father had told the media that a few days ago a quarrel took place between his son and sons of a police officer and a lawyer.

Mr Khan said the police would include the son of the police officer in the investigation in order to satisfy the parents.

He said the murder of the teenager at the hands of the ACLC personnel was indeed tragic.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2018