The Punjab police on Tuesday arrested 13 suspects for the alleged murder of a papad (rice cracker) seller during a wedding in Pattoki, police said.
According to the first information report (FIR) of the incident, the rice cracker vendor, Mohammad Ashraf, got into a dispute with guests at a wedding procession in Pattoki, after which he was beaten up and dragged inside the wedding hall.
The incident came to the limelight when footage, allegedly showing Ashraf's body near a seemingly apathetic crowd that continued eating at the wedding, went viral on social media and aroused public anger at the callousness on display.
Pattoki Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Asif Hanif told DawnNewsTV the incident was "very unfortunate". The DSP said he formed teams when he got to know of the incident and 13 suspects were arrested who were being interrogated.
Punjab Inspector General of Police Rao Sardar Ali Khan took notice of the incident and directed Kasur District Police Officer (DPO) Sohaib Ashraf to immediately arrest the culprits.
The DPO said the police had raided places at Kanganpur, Pattoki and Sarai Mughal last night and arrested 12 suspects. He said doctors had not confirmed torture in the initial post-mortem report of the deceased and the police were investigating every aspect of the case.
DPO Ashraf added the Punjab Forensic Science Agency had collected evidence from the scene and the "real facts" would emerge after the final report.
A spokesperson for the Punjab police, Osama Mehmood, said Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the IGP had taken notice of the incident at night. He added that the DPO was leading the investigation of the incident and the requirements of justice would be fulfilled with CCTV footage and other evidence being looked into to identify the suspects.
CM Buzdar ordered a report from the IGP and said the culprits should be apprehended immediately. "The suspects do not deserve any leeway. Justice should be ensured to the family of the deceased," he said.
The FIR was registered at Pattoki police station by the deceased's brother-in-law, Parvez, on Monday under section 147 (punishment for rioting), section 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) and 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Parvez said he and a companion were passing by Al Jannat wedding hall at Pattoki's Kahna road around 4pm when he saw five to six people along with others beating his brother-in-law, Mohammad Ashraf.
"We went and started pleading [with] the people who were beating him [to stop]. They dragged him inside the wedding hall," the FIR quoted him as saying.
He said Ashraf died on the spot from his injuries.
Parvez added that upon inquiring he found out that the suspects had arrived with the wedding procession and Ashraf was selling rice crackers there. An altercation happened over the purchase of crackers upon which the suspects started beating Ashraf with some local accomplices, the FIR said.
Parvez said he and other witnesses could identify the suspects if they were brought before them. "Severe injustice has been done to us," he said in the FIR, demanding that action should be taken.