CHAKWAL: A retired commando of the Pakistan Army’s Special Services Group (SSG) was shot dead and three police constables sustained bullet injuries in an alleged “encounter” in a village near Chakwal on Monday night.
The former armyman’s relatives termed the encounter fake and accused police of murdering him. They were reluctant to bury the body, but agreed to do so after the District Police Officer (DPO) ordered an inquiry.
According to police, a team consisting of two assistant sub-inspectors and five constables raided the home of “proclaimed offender” Sajid Mehmood at Dalailpur village, in Choa Saidan Shah Tehsil of Chakwal district, late on Monday night.
According to the DPO, as soon as the policemen reached the house, Sajid’s elder brother Arshad Mehmood opened fire at them, injuring three constables. “Arshad died on the spot after police retaliated,” the DPO said.
Raja Abid, a cousin of the deceased, told Dawn that Arshad had received 14 bullet injuries.
The injured constables were identified as Faisal Javed, Faizan and Bilawal. They were first rushed to the Tehsil Headquarters Hospital at Choa Saidan Shah, but were referred to the Chakwal District Headquarters Hospital. On Tuesday morning, the three were admitted to Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi. The hospital described their condition as stable.
Police sources traced the incident to an episode of March 13 last year when a video of a man being tortured went viral. He had his eyebrows, moustache and head shaven.
“That man was a drug addict who was tortured by at least 10 men in Dalailpur village over a petty dispute,” the DPO said.
Curiously enough, police did not name Sajid in the FIR at that time, listing him among some “unknown accused”.
Things took an unforeseen turn last year when Sajid joined the Army in April. Police had issued a clearance certificate about Sajid, a requirement for recruitment in the armed forces.
But after Sajid started working at the recruitment centre in Chakwal, his name surfaced in the FIR.
“My cousin did not open fire at police. They faked bullet injuries on the three constables in an attempt to save their skin,” Raja Abid alleged.
However, a doctor at the THQ Hospital told Dawn the injuries did not look fabricated. “One constable received a serious bullet injury in his abdomen, which might have damaged his intestines,” the doctor said.
Talking to Dawn, the DPO said action would be taken against those found responsible for the retired commando’s killing.
“I am going to write to the District and Sessions Judge for a judicial inquiry into the incident,” the police official said.
Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2020