LAHORE: The Organised Crime Unit (OCU) and the investigation police have reportedly busted a major network, including another hired shooter, handlers and facilitators, in connection with the murder of Ameer Balaj Tipu, the young son of Lahore’s underworld don late Arif Ameer alias Tipu Truckanwala.

Of them, Ahsan Shah, believed to be a close friend of Balaj, had provided information to Teefi Butt about the Balaj’s presence at a wedding party in Chuhng where he was allegedly murdered by a hitman, Muzaffar Hussain, on Feb 19.

The other key facilitator, Ali Asghar, was arrested from Panja Gali, a spot which is about one and a half hour away from Oghi tehsil of Mansehra district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The calls and the locations of two mobile phones used in the murder plan of Balaj helped the OCU staff to reach the second hired shooter and other suspects who were close to underworld don Khawaja Tareef Gulshan alias Teefi Butt and Khawaja Aqeel alias Gogi Butt.

Muzaffar Hussain was allegedly shot dead on the spot soon after the deadly attack on Balaj Tipu.

In the related development, the Punjab government has formed a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the high profile murder case.

The team comprised Saddar Division Investigation SP Dr Mustansar Ata Bajwa and OCU SP Aftab Phularwan, the officers known for their professionalism and potential, to investigate complicated cases.

The OCU has transferred the case and handed over all the arrested suspects to the JIT to initiate further action.

An official privy to the development told Dawn that the OCU team hit the breakthrough by tracing the suspects through the calls of two mobile phones which were used before, during and after the murder of Balaj Tipu.

He said one of the mobile phones was found switched off on the premises of Teefi Butt in Naseerabad and the other went offline at the crime scene where Balaj was allegedly shot dead.

The official said Teefi Butt fled the country at 7:28am, very next day of the murder.

He said the OCU teams which were working on the mobile phones got to know that one of the cell phones was once switched on in Abbottabad.

This was an important lead for the OCU police which managed to trace its location in the ‘no go area’ of Panja Gali from where they managed to arrest Ali Ashgar, a trusted employee of Teefi Butt.

Ali Asghar told the investigators that a close friend of Balaj Tipu, namely Ahsan Shah, a resident of Ravi Road, was one of the suspects who played a key role to help masterminds of the murder plan to trace and reach young Balaj.

Ali Asghar told the detectives that an influential man from America contacted a suspect Malik Sohail in Lahore to manage a meeting of Ahsan Shah with Teefi Butt.

The official said Malik Sohail finally convinced Ahsan Shah for Rs50 million to provide inside information to trace Balaj Tipu.

He was paid Rs5m in advance, he said, adding that Ahsan Shah visited and met Teefi Butt at his Naseerabad residence many times.

Each time, he changed vehicle to hold a meeting with Teefi Butt in order to keep his identity and the plan secret.

Both sides met 10 times, the official quoted Ali Asghar as having said.

He added that as soon as Ahsan Shah provided information about Balaj’s personal activities, Teefi Butt suggested him to go to Saudi Arabia to perform Umra.

Meanwhile, the alleged masterminds engaged the other ‘trustworthy’ men, including Muzamil, Amir, Sher alias Mota and Khalid.

The official said Ali Asghar told the investigators that according to the plan two shooters, including Muzaffar, would open fire on Balaj Tipu at the wedding ceremony.

As part of the plan, the armed men of Teefi Butt were tasked with killing both shooters soon after the murder of Balaj Tipu.

As soon as the shooters completed the task, one of them was allegedly killed on the spot as per the plan, he said, adding that the other one, however, fled the scene as the situation had turned risky for him when the armed gunmen of Balaj Tipu immediately resorted to aerial firing.

The official said there were also some conflicting reports about the presence of Teefi Butt at the crime scene which were yet to be confirmed.

One the next day of the killing of Balaj Tipu, he said, one of the wives of Muzaffar Hussain got a call from Turkmenistan.

The caller shared grief over her husband’s killing and assured her that she would be provided complete protection.

To a question, the police official said Muzamil and Amir have also been arrested by the OCU while teams are working to nab all other suspects.

He said two masterminds Teefi Butt and Gogi Butt are still at large.

Published in Dawn, February 29th, 2024



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