Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Saturday took notice of the killing of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek (JST) party's Karachi president Irshad Ranjhani, who was shot earlier this week allegedly by Abdul Rahim Shah, the union council chairman of Bhains Colony.
Members of JST had held a protest against Ranjhani's murder outside the Karachi Press Club on Friday. According to party activists, Ranjhani had been shot twice by Rahim on Wednesday, and then died in mysterious circumstances while in police custody.
According to the chief minister's spokesperson, Murad called Inspector General of Police (IGP) Syed Kaleem Imam today and asked him about the progress in the investigation of the case so far. The chief minister also directed IGP Imam to investigate the murder from all angles.
Murad also raised questions over the efficiency of Sindh police and asked how long it took for the force to arrive at the crime scene. He was astounded that despite the alleged presence of a large crowd at the time of the murder, no one had taken Ranjhani to a hospital.
"UC Chairman Rahim Shah allegedly killed Irshad Ranjhani before a huge crowd — how can anyone dare to do that?" he asked, remarking that the incident appeared to be "the result of a lack of fear of the law".
Murad also asked who had acted as complainant in the case as well as what clauses were included in the first information report of the incident. He further asked how many arrests the police had made following the incident.
He also directed Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah to write a letter to the registrar of Sindh High Court with the request to conduct a judicial inquiry into the killing of Irshad Ranjhani.
Meanwhile, IG Imam directed that a clear investigation be carried out. On his orders, the the additional IG Sindh has created an inquiry team to look into the matter.
Deputy Inspector General Umer Farooqi will lead the team, while SSP East Azfar Mahesar and SSP Investigation (Malir) Farrukh Raza will also be part of the team.
The police have, however, presented a different version of the event.
According to the police: "Abdul Rahim Shah reported that on Feb 6, 2019, he was going back to his home in Bhains Colony on a Hilux after withdrawing cash from a bank near Nursery.
"His son Hasan Ali Shah was driving the vehicle. His vehicle was intercepted near Babar Kanta, Bhains Colony mor on main National Highway around 4.45pm.
"A guy holding a gun came up to the window of the vehicle and demanded cash. Rahim Shah was holding a licensed gun as was his practice to carry weapon whenever he withdrew big cash [sic] from the bank.
"Sensing threat and imminent danger, he started firing on the suspected dacoit. He fired many shots at the dacoit. Four empties have been found from inside the vehicle. Five bullets hit the dacoit. There are five bullet wounds making 10 entry/ exit wounds as was noted during medical examination. Detailed medico-legal report is awaited.
"Dacoit was carrying a gun and also fired shots. The gun of the dacoit is also recovered. There were three accomplices of the dacoit who ran away from the place.
"Dacoit was later identified as Irshad Ali Ranjhani, resident of Dadu. He was moved to the hospital in an Edhi ambulance but he succumbed to his wounds before reaching hospital.
"Many people gathered at the spot including PPP MPA Raja Razzaq. They are all eyewitness to the proceedings.
"Call data record of mobile phone recovered from the suspect indicate his movement when he came from Dadu and who are his acquaintances.
"Police is working on it to determine where he resides in Karachi and what were his activities. He bears a criminal record as well. He was known as Irshad Ali, son of Bahadur Ali, alias Fauji.
So far, four previous FIRs have been traced against him. He got arrested in a snatching case in Police Station Nazimabad in 2003. In 2008, he was arrested in Police Station Defence and a stolen vehicle and unlicensed pistol was recovered from him. In 2013, he was again arrested in Police Station Bahadurabad with an unlicensed weapon.
"An FIR of the above [shooting] incident has been registered in Police Station Shah Latif and is under Investigation."