Five suspects were arrested on Monday in connection with the killing of a Swat anti-terrorism court judge and his family members, police said.
A day earlier, Judge Aftab Afridi was travelling to Islamabad from Peshawar when his car came under fire at the Swabi Interchange on the Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway. Afridi, his wife Bibi Zainab, daughter-in-law Kiran and three-year-old grandson Mohammad Sanan died while the driver was seriously injured.
A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, had told Dawn.com that "apparently it was a targeted attack".
According to the police statement issued on Monday, a joint operation team carried out an operation in Peshawar and Khyber and apprehended five suspects.
The statement added that the deceased judge's son, Majid Afridi, will identify the suspects. Police added that two vehicles mentioned in the FIR have also been taken into police custody.
The FIR, registered on the complaint of the judge's son, stated that the judge was returning to Islamabad after attending a wedding in Peshawar. According to the FIR, the judge's daughter-in-law was also six months pregnant. "The suspects opened fire on the vehicle near the Swabi interchange," it said.
The FIR also named six suspects including Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abdul Latif Afridi.
The case was registered under sections 302 (murder or Qatl-i-Amd), 324 (attempted murder), 148 (armed with deadly weapon), 149, 109 (abetment), 427 (damage to property), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging their duty) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also taken notice of the incident and pledged the early arrest of the attackers.
“Strongly condemn the murder of ATC judge Aftab Afridi, his wife & 2 children at Anbar Interchange, Swabi. The perpetrators of this gruesome act will be apprehended & dealt with full severity of the law,” he had said.
SCBA president denies involvement
Meanwhile, the president of the SCBA issued a statement on Monday stating that he and his son had been falsely implicated in the FIR.
Ahmed Shehzad Farooq Rana, the secretary of the SCBA, issued a statement on behalf of the president which said said that the two men were busy "transecting their family affairs" on Sunday and were at their agricultural land in the evening when they heard the news.
"Upon hearing the news, [the SCBA president] immediately condemned it as attacking women/children is against Pashtun traditions and cultural norms," the statement said.
However, he added that he will fully cooperate with all relevant agencies as both him and his son had "nothing to do in this matter".