LAHORE: Murtaza Malik's 'killers' held

Published November 23, 2004

LAHORE, Nov 22: Police claimed on Monday to have arrested two Sunni Tehrik activists allegedly involved in the murder of two religious scholars.

Investigation police chief Chaudhry Shafqaat claimed at a press conference that the arrested men had murdered Prof Dr Ghulam Murtaza Malik and Prof Ataur Rehman Saqib. They had confessed to their involvement in 14 other crimes besides the killings, he maintained.

One of the suspects, Muhammad Farooq, 26, a matriculate dropout, produced with a mask on his face, told reporters that he joined the Sunni Tehrik on the persuasion of one Shahbaz Ahmad. Tehrik convenor Dr Shahid had been a major force behind him.

"Now I regret the acts I had been doing. They (Sunni Tehrik) exploited my religious sentiments. It (the killings) was done by me just to please Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him) and secure heavens."

He claimed that he also tried to quit the group, but to no avail. The police chief identified the other as Muhammad Arshad, and said they were arrested from a house in Chungi Amar Sadhu, which had been raided on a tip-off.

Claiming the arrest of Dr Shahid soon as teams had been sent for the purpose to Pattoki, he said the arrested men had plans to kill Maulana Muhammad Husain of Sheikhupura in near future.

He said they had murdered Prof Ataur Rehman in March, 2002, near the AG Office and also killed the caretaker of an imambargah when he tried to catch them. The caretaker was on way to drop his daughter to her school when their motorcycle hit the girl and he tried to nab them.

They shot Prof Dr Murtaza Malik and his driver in Gulshan-i-Iqbal in May, 2002, and murdered a policeman who attempted to intercept them while they were fleeing. Chaudhry Shafqaat said the city police chief had recommended special awards for the policemen who arrested the suspects.

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