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Police seek more arrests in Sarfaraz Shah’s killing

June 11, 2011

This television frame grab taken from a news channel on June 10, 2011 shows paramilitary soldiers shooting Sarfaraz Shah in Karachi on June 8, 2011. — Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Police on Saturday said they were seeking to arrest another four paramilitary personnel over the killing of an unarmed man in a public park.

Two soldiers from the Rangers paramilitary force, Shahid Zafar and Muhammed Afzal, were on Friday remanded into police custody for five days over the killing which was captured on camera and broadcast repeatedly on television.

“We have sent a request to Rangers officials to hand over four of the remaining soldiers seen in the video,” said a senior police investigator on condition of anonymity.

Security forces shot dead Sarfaraz Shah, 22, in Karachi on Wednesday, accusing him of robbery, but his family has demanded justice, insisting he was an innocent student passing the time of day.

Widely viewed footage showed a clean-shaven man wearing black trousers and a navy shirt crying and pleading for his life as a soldier cocks his rifle at his neck, then shoots him twice in the hand and thigh in a local park.

As his blood pours onto the ground, the man begs for help from soldiers — who appear to do nothing but watch — until he falls unconscious.

Police said they had also taken custody of Afsar Khan, a man in plainclothes who dragged the victim over to the paramilitary soldiers and later filed a criminal case, accusing Shah of robbery.

Another local police official said taking custody of the four soldiers was essential to an investigation ordered by the government and the Supreme Court.

A Rangers spokesman said he was unaware that police were seeking custody of the other four soldiers who were at the scene.

“I don't know about it, but we'll hand them over if such a request comes our way,” spokesman Bilal Farooq said.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Friday directed the government to remove from their posts Major General Aijaz Chaudhry, head of the paramilitary in Sindh province, and Sindh police chief Fayyaz Leghari.

The victim's brother Salik Shah, a local reporter, said the family wanted to see everyone involved face justice.