KARACHI: Police authorities on Saturday ordered a probe into the Feb 6 killing of a city leader of the Jeay Sindh Tehreek (JST) by a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) union council chairman in an alleged mugging incident in Bhains Colony, Malir district.

While the police claimed that the deceased, Irshad Ahmed Ranjhani, had a criminal record and had been arrested at least thrice in Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah intervened on Saturday and sought a judicial inquiry into the incident — a rare instance as he or his government never went for a judicial probe into similar cases involving victims who were all killed by police in controversial circumstances.

On Feb 6, UC-3 chairman Abdul Raheem Shah had claimed to have killed a suspected robber, later identified as JST’s Karachi president Ranjhani, with his licensed pistol within the remit of the Shah Latif Town police when he along with his accomplices tried to intercept his vehicle to snatch cash that he drew from a bank.

The incident sparked a protest in which protesters demanded arrest of the UC chairman and action against policemen who were, according to them, portraying a victim as a criminal.

Investigators find deceased’s criminal record; Sindh govt to approach SHC for judicial inquiry

Karachi police chief Additional Inspector General Amir Ahmed Shaikh constituted a team, headed by DIG East Amir Farooqui and comprising SSP East Azfar Mahesar and SSP Investigation (Malir) Dr Farrukh Malik “to enquire into the death of Irshad Ahmed in the area of Shah Latif Town on Feb 6” and directed it to submit its findings and recommendations within three days.

Police say JST leader had criminal record

DIG Farooqi claimed that the deceased had criminal record as several FIRs were registered against him at different police stations in the city.

“He was known as Irshad Ali alias Fauji,” he said. “He got arrested in a snatching case in Nazimabad police station’s limit in 2003. In 2008 he was arrested in Defence and a stolen vehicle and unlicensed pistol was recovered from him. In 2013 he was again arrested in Bahadurabad with an unlicensed weapon.”

About the incident, he said there were many people who gathered at the spot including Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Raja Razzaq. “They are all eyewitness to the scene.”

“There are five bullet wounds making 10 entry/exit points as was noted during medical examination,” he said. “The deceased was carrying a gun and also fired shots.”

He said that the gun of the deceased was also recovered. There were three accomplices of the deceased who rode away, he added.

“The CDR [call data record] of the mobile phone recovered from the deceased indicates his movement when he came from Dadu and who are his acquaintances,” the DIG said.

To a question about reports that the UC chairman did not allow the people to shift the injured suspect to hospital and he allegedly fired more shots in the presence of many people, the DIG said: “I need eyewitnesses statements for that … we are calling eyewitnesses to this effect and if any such thing comes on record, it will be shared.”

He said that the inquiry team already started work and on Saturday SSP Farrukh Malik had visited the place of the incident and then the Shah Latif police station.

Murad wants judicial probe

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Saturday decided to request a judicial inquiry and directed Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah to write a letter to the registrar of the Sindh High Court asking him to order a judicial probe into the case.

“We can’t allow anyone to take law into one’s hand,” Mr Shah was quoted as saying.

Earlier, the chief minister directed IG Dr Kaleem Imam to conduct an inquiry by a senior police officer into the incident.

“The government cannot allow anyone to establish state within the state, taking guns and killing someone by blaming the victim as a robber,” said Mr Shah referring to the circumstances involving Mr Ranjhani’s murder.

Officials said the chief minister wanted a detailed report about police record of the UC chairman and the deceased, area police’s whereabouts at the time of the crime, autopsy report, the person who registered the FIR [police or relatives of the victim] and which sections had been invoked and whether anyone had been arrested.

On CM’s instruction, the Sindh home department sent a request, stating: “It is requested that the honourable district and sessions judge, District Malir, Karachi, may kindly be issued necessary directions to conduct judicial inquiry in the matter particularly in the causes leading towards his death and subsequent actions including delay, if any, in providing medical aid and actions taken against the alleged offenders of this offence and submit report within 30 days to this department for perusal of the honourable chief minister Sindh,” it said.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019