MURREE: The main suspect in the Darya Gali murder that left three including a child dead escaped on Wednesday after one of his accomplices and five other men opened fire on the premises of the civil courts.

Fazal Rahim, also known as Chotu, and his accomplice Baqir managed to escape into a nearby forest during the firing, which caused police officials to flee.

Eyewitnesses said the police had not bound with chains. When the police fled during the firing, other suspects also had the opportunity to escape but did not and instead presented themselves in court.

Mr Rahim, an ex-police official, allegedly shot and killed three people – Yasir Zaman Abbasi, Usama Masood Abbasi and Malika Bibi – on Aug 19, 2018, in Darya Gali over a land dispute. He was not arrested until locals, the media and public representatives pressured police at which point he was apprehended in Quetta on Jan 29, 2019.

He was brought to the courts in a prison van, but was not bound with chains, which is mandatory for dangerous suspects.

When contacted, Murree Assistant Superintendent of Police Waqas Khan said that three people who came to see the suspect brought red chillies with them which they threw in the eyes of police guards and then escaped into the nearby forest area from the back door of the court building.

He said all of Murree’s points of entry and exit are being checked and a police post has been set up of exit routes. Police teams have also been formed to search the area and the homes of the suspect’s known acquaintances who were involved in the case and released on bail would be raided.

He said the Saddar senior superintendent of police (SSP) is in Murree as well and a strategy is being drawn up to arrest those responsible.

A press release issued by the spokesperson for the Rawalpindi city police officer said that the officer has taken notice and sought a report from the Saddar SSP about the incident.

It will be a test case for the police to arrest dangerous suspects who terrorised the area for more than a year, Darya Gali local resident Tahir Abbasi, who was related to the murder victims, said.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2020