FAISALABAD: A five-member police inquiry committee has declared as wrong the version of Millat Town police on the killing of two youngsters in Muslim Town here on Aug 8, that the victims were gunned down in “crossfire” at a picket.

Arslan and Usman, both matriculates, were reportedly shot at and injured by police for not stopping their bike at a picket. They died shortly after and the killings sparked nine-hour-long public protest. Police had claimed that the youngsters were killed in “crossfire” with police. A case of a police encounter was registered against the victims.

Following the protest, City Police Officer Ashfaq Ahmad Khan had constituted a committee to probe into the matter that comprised SSP (operations) Sultan Haider (convener), SSP (investigation) Syed Nadeem, Madina Town SP Asif Amin, SP Farhat Abbas (legal) and Nishatabad DSP Qaiser Musthaq.

The committee had recorded the statements of suspects, including Assistant Sub-Inspector Javed Akhtar, Head Constable Asghar Ali, Constable Falak Sher and terminated constable Faisal.

The suspects told the committee that the bikers, Usman and Arslan, were stopped at a picket near Bagh Wali Puli, but they tried to speed away and traded fire with the police.

According to police sources, the suspects neither corroborated their claim, nor produced any weapon allegedly recovered from the victims to prove that they fired at the police.

They said the inquiry committee also mentioned that no criminal record of the victims could be detected.

One of the suspects, police volunteer Waqas is at large, while the rest of them are in custody.

The CPO had given the committee 24 hours to conclude the probe. However, it failed to meet the deadline as the suspects joined the inquiry proceedings on Saturday after securing their pre-arrest bails.

The Supreme Court had also sought a report from the Punjab inspector general of police regarding the killings, reportedly on a petition filed by a lawyer from Lahore.

A murder case has already been registered against the suspect policemen who were placed under suspension following the nine-hour-long protest against the killings.

The CPO confirmed to Dawn, citing the inquiry committee report, that the suspects failed to produce any evidence of firing on police by the victims.

He said one of the suspects, Faisal, had been arrested while the others had secured pre-arrest bails till Aug 20.

Legal opinion had been sought to get their bails cancelled, he added.

Mr Khan said it had also been established that the version of the victims’ families was acceptable.

He said the policemen had tried to stop the boys who sped away and a bullet was fired at them from the rear that hit them both.

He said the policemen deployed at the picket had called the Rescue 1122 and got the boys shifted to the hospital.

He said further details of the incident could be unveiled in the investigation process as the scope of the inquiry committee was just to verify the version of the police and families of the deceased boys.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2018