LAHORE, May 7: Noted religious scholar Prof Dr Ghulam Murtaza Malik, his driver and a policeman were shot dead by two gunmen in Allama Iqbal Town, here on Tuesday night.
When residents of Mehran Block came out of their houses after hearing three gunshots at around 9pm, Dr Murtaza, 60, and his driver Ejaz, 30, were lying in a pool of blood close to their car (LOX-2768).
Unaware of the two killings, two policemen of the Tiger Squad on a patrol duty intercepted the gunmen some distance from the scene of the crime as the motorcycle did not have a number plate.
The armed men opened fire on the policemen, Maqbool Hussain and Mohammad Siraj. The former was rushed to the Mansoora Hospital where he died.
Quoting Hammad, the son of Dr Malik, the Lahore SSP told newsmen that the professor had left his Defence residence after receiving a phone call. He had come to the Mehran Block to inspect a place to build a mosque-cum-seminary, he added.
The SSP, quoting an eyewitness, said Dr Murtaza was talking on his cell phone and the two gunmen were having a conversation with his driver before the incident took place. Record retrieved, so far, from the cell phone, the SSP said, revealed that two calls were made from it from the scene. One of these was made to the Model Town division police SP, he said. “I think the call to the SP was made after the murders,” he claimed, saying that somebody did so to inform the police.
The Lahore SSP (Investigation) and his team members also reached the spot. He told reporters that two empties of .30 bore pistols were found from the scene of the crime. Dr Murtaza sustained a bullet in his jaw and the driver had two bullet holes in his back close to his neck. The policeman also sustained a bullet, he said.
Dr Murtaza has been teaching Quran and other Islamic studies at various institutions in Pakistan and foreign countries. He has also been delivering lectures on the PTV and other media forums.
The professor is survived by two wives and eight children.
The bodies were sent to the city mortuary for autopsy. The SSP said a case would be registered against unknown persons as the family had not,so far, nominated anybody in the murders.
About a motive behind the killings, Lahore DPO Javed Noor and Lahore SSP (Operations and Preventions) Aftab Ahmad Cheema said: “It is too early to say something about that.” It can and cannot be a terrorist act,” the SSP remarked.