CHINIOT: Mystery shrouds the murder of two persons and injuries to their accomplice during an alleged robbery bid at village Chah Rathanwala as all three of them turned out to be army soldiers.

The family of one of the deceased alleged that their soldier son was killed by the rivals of his colleague in connivance with Rajoa police on Saturday night.

The district police chief confirmed to Dawn the three were soldiers.

The first information report (FIR) alleged that all three robbery suspects had received shots by their ‘own firing’. Three soldiers were identified as Usman Nasir, Tanveer and Muhammad Ishaq who were posted in the Murree area. All three of them had reached the house of Ishaq at Rathanwala on the night when the incident happened, resulting in the killing of Ishaq and Usman and bullet injuries to Tanveer.

Rajoa police had registered a case against five men, claiming that they were robbers and two of them were killed and the third was injured by the firing of their own accomplices.

However, it is allegedly the same template that Punjab Police has been following over the years in the alleged fake encounters across the province, especially in the central and southern Punjab.

FIR termed them robbers who fell victim to ‘their own firing’; deceased’s family alleges foul play

According to the first information report, lodged with the Rajoa Police Station under sections 396 (robbery-cum-murder), 397 (robbery), 324 of the PPC and 13-2-A of the Punjab Arms Amendment Ordinance 2015 on the report of a complainant, Qamar Shahzad, son of Riaz Ahmad. Qamar said he was asleep in his drawing room when five armed men broke into his house.

They took the family hostage, searched the house and took away Rs6,500 cash from the house, Rs13,000 from his relative, Muzzaffar, and a gold ring from his mother, Sughran Bibi. When a robber forced his mother to take her nose pin off, Qamar resisted and the robbers opened fire. A bullet hit Muzzaffar on his ear and during the indiscriminate firing, two robbers were shot dead and another was injured by ‘their own firing’ while the villagers captured the injured suspect.

The injured robbery suspect was later identified as Tanveer, son of Muhammad Rafiq, a resident of Sargodha, while the deceased were identified as Muhammad Ishaq, son of Noor Muhammad, a resident of Chah Rathanwala and Muhammad Usman Nasir, son of Nasir of Jhang district.

The FIR claimed that two dacoits succeeded to flee from the scene. Police reached the spot and shifted the injured suspect to hospital.

However, it later transpired that all three persons who were called robbers were army soldiers with no criminal record.

Mehr Nasir, the father of Usman of Jhang, told the media that his son was a soldier and was only 20 years old. He was killed by the rivals of his colleague and host (Ishaq) in connivance with Rajoa police and all the three soldiers were wrongly labelled as robbers. He questioned how two soldiers could be murdered with the firing of each other and third was injured in the same firing.

Mehr Nasir appealed to the chief of the army staff (COAS) to take notice of martyrdom of two soldiers and injuries to their friend and order an investigation into the incident by the intelligence agencies.

The matter raised questions how three army soldiers trained in using weapons could mistakenly shoot each other during the alleged scuffle.

The FIR first stated there were five men but later on, police claimed that there was evidence of only three persons.

District Police Officer Imran Malik said all three persons were found at the house of the complainant, Qamar Shahzad, with their faces covered with masks and hands with gloves. Although the two deceased and the injured person had no previous criminal record, they were found at the crime scene and the preliminary police investigation had confirmed the facts recorded in the FIR, he claimed.

The army teams also visited the crime scene and sought updates from police.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2022

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