Justice Javed Iqbal, senior judge of the Supreme Court.-AFP photo

LAHORE: The parents of Justice Javed Iqbal, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, were found murdered under mysterious circumstances in their house near Cavalry Ground on Tuesday night.

Preliminary investigations suggested that Malik Abdul Hameed, 80, and Zarina, 70, were suffocated to death in their bedroom, a police officer told Dawn.

He said it would be premature to say anything about the motive behind the murder.

The house was being guarded round the clock by at least four policemen.  A housemaid went missing after the incident.

Perhaps the killers used pillows to asphyxiate the couple because no marks were found on their necks, the officer said, adding that two policemen deputed outside the house had been taken into custody.

He said a passer-by had claimed having seen two motorcyclists hold up the couple near the gate of the house and hearing gunshots later. However, the neighbours said they had not heard gunshots.

A relative of the deceased told investigators that he had called police when he got no response after knocking at the door for quite some time. Policemen entered the house and found the bodies.

A joint investigation team comprising nine officials of law enforcement agencies, including the FIA, police and the CIA, was set up.

Initial information conveyed to the police high-ups suggested that Malik Hameed, a former DIG, and his wife had been killed while resisting an attempted robbery.

Cantonment SP (Investigation) Amin Bukhari said Malik Hameed practiced homoeopathy and it was difficult to identify every visitor to the house. He said the couple had rented out the upper portion of their house to a family.

Police erected pickets on all major city roads and entry points and intensified patrolling after the incident.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, senior judges of the Supreme Court and Lahore High Court, newly appointed Punjab governor Latif Khosa, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and police officers visited the house in Sheraz Villas.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani strongly condemned the tragic happening and ordered immediate inquiry into the incident.

He expressed his deep shock and grief over the incident. President Asif Ali Zardari has also strongly condemned the killing.