KASUR: Police claimed on Tuesday to have arrested 12 suspects a day after a rice cracker vendor was allegedly tortured to death by some wedding guests at Pattoki.
Police teams arrested the suspects in Chunian and its adjoining areas such as Allahabad, Kanganpur and Sara-i-Mughal on the basis of video clips of social media and evidence taken from CCTV cameras and the moviemaker.
Meanwhile, vendor Muhammad Ashraf alias Sultan was laid to rest at Jagowala village. No official or public representative attended the funeral despite public rage over the callousness of wedding participants who went about having their dinner in utter disregard for the tragedy.
Police also claimed to have recovered the CCTV footage from the cameras which were removed soon after the incident to avoid legal formalities.
Victim’s brother cries out against wedding guests’ callousness
Hall owner Muhammad Waqar also has been arrested.
Police denied torture of the vendor in the light of a preliminary medical report.
District Police Officer Sohaib Ashraf said it would be premature to say anything before the forensic report and added that the samples collected from the crime scene had been sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) for chemical analysis.
On Monday, a mob of wedding guests allegedly tortured 50-year-old vendor Muhammad Ashraf to death after a quarrel with him over a trifle at a banquet hall at Pattoki’s Kohna Road, hardly seven kilometres from the city police station.
Initially, the social media reported that a mob had tortured to death an unidentified vendor suspecting him to be a pickpocket. The body remained at the hall for over half an hour and was later identified as that of Ashraf who belonged to Jagowala Chak 4.
Police shifted the body to the THQ hospital and registered a case against six unidentified suspects (all wedding guests) on the report of Muhammad Parvez, brother-in-law of the victim. The complainant in the FIR claimed that he and two others were eyewitnesses and they implored the mob to spare the man.
The video which went viral on social media showed the body lying on the floor with no attendant as the wedding guests were taking food without having any qualms about ignoring the tragic incident.
The brother of the victim, as shown in another video clip, expressed his concern over the callousness of the people around and also criticised police for being clueless about the killers.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had taken notice of the incident and sought a report from the IGP.
Published in Dawn, March 23rd, 2022