SHIKARPUR: Shikarpur police on Wednesday shot dead three brothers in an alleged encounter and later declared them “criminals” but the bereaved family described the police action as “cold-blooded murder”. A former MPA from the area also reacted strongly and demanded a fair investigation and justice.

The police claimed that after receiving a tip-off about presence of Mohammed Nawaz Marfani aka Nawazo Marfani — a dacoit carrying head money of Rs800,000 — in Salaro Marfani village, a team from Dilawar Marfani police station carried out a raid on a specified place. However, upon seeing the police advancing towards them, Nawazo and his “gangsters” opened indiscriminate fire, which was returned, they said.

The police said that three of the gangsters were shot dead during the gun battle and five others, including their abettor, were arrested from the crime scene after the encounter. Nawazo managed to escape under the cover of gunfire, they added.

They identified the deceased persons as Mohammed Ibrahim, Ali Haider and Khaman, sons of Bungle Marfani. The arrested suspects included Ali Asghar, son of Awwal Khan Marfani, whom the police declared “abettor of the gang”.

The Sindh government had placed a bounty of Rs800,000 on the head of Nawazo Marfani, against whom a number of criminal cases have been registered at various police stations of the province over the past several years. A high-profile case among them is the killing of Rangers deputy superintendent (DSR) Abdul Jabbar Abbasi in 2015. DSR Abbasi along with some other members of the paramilitary force was ambushed near Garhi Yasin town. He was killed and two of his companions were wounded in the attack.

The bodies of the “encounter” victims were taken to the Garhi Yasin taluka hospital for a post-mortem examination by the police. The wounded suspects were provided medical treatment and then interrogated, they said.

After preliminary investigation, the police told local reporters that they had managed to trace out criminal record of two of the deceased brothers, Mohammed Ibrahim and Ali Haider, who were nominated in many cases of murder, police encounter, dacoity, theft etc registered at Golo Daro police station, besides Dilawar Marfani police station. Other police stations of Jacobabad, Qambar-Shahdadkot, Larkana and Kashmore were being approached in search for the record of Khaman, they said.

Reacting angrily to the police version, the bereaved family and their relatives wailed outside the taluka hospital and held a protest demonstration. They told reporters that Mohammed Ibrahim was an employee of the Larkana Development Authority and Ali Haider was a Hafiz-i-Quran and used to teach children in the mosque of the village. They said Khaman was a farmer and cultivated his lands within the village.

They termed the entire police version a concocted story and rejected their claims. They demanded a thorough investigation into the episode and for justice to be done to them.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Mir Babal Khan Bhayo, who is a former MPA from the area, also condemned the police version in strong words and urged the authorities concerned to take notice of the highly suspicious encounter in order to dispense justice in the matter.

The bodies were not collected by the heirs till late in the evening.

No FIR of the alleged encounter was registered till the filing of the report.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2018

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