KARAK, Dec 9: Unidentified gunmen shot dead a young man as he came out of a court in Takht Nusrati after the proceedings of the alleged gang rape of his sister in Karak on Friday.
Alamzeb Khattak, 24, had steadfastly supported his sister’s fight for justice in the face of threats and unrelenting pressure from the accused who include three policemen.
His cold-blooded murder in the precinct of a court prompted the provincial home department order “a thorough and transparent probe into any security lapse” and to task the police hierarchy to arrest the audacious killers as soon as possible.
Alamzeb had gone to the court to attend hearing where four of the accused arrested a few days ago were produced.
According to witnesses, he was attacked soon after he stepped out of the courtroom at around 1:30pm and died instantly. His body was brought to the tehsil headquarters hospital, Takht Nusrati tehsil for autopsy. Police registered an FIR against ASI Hakeem Khan, his brother Ibrahim, Waheedullah and three unidentified persons.
Police had arrested the four accused in the rape case, including inspector Peer Mohsin Shah, sub-inspector Ameer Mohammad, assistant sub-inspector Hakeem Khan and one Qamar Ali, on December 3 after their pre-arrest bail was cancelled by an additional district and sessions judge.
They were later remanded in the police custody for five days on whose expiry, they were produced before the court of civil judge-cum-judicial magistrate on Friday and were sent to jail.
A family member of Mr Alamzeb said there was a brief altercation between Hakeem Khan’s brothers and the slain person on the premises of the court after the latter objected to the ‘friendly’ treatment extended to the accused by police.
The policemen along with several other people were charged by the alleged rape victim and her family with abduction, illegal confinement and gang rape. The victim, who was a ninth grade student when she was kidnapped last year, has now been in advance stage of pregnancy.
On the orders of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, a committee headed by provincial home secretary Mohammad Azam Khan was formed to look into the alleged gang rape. The committee expressed dismay over the investigation into the case and made many recommendations.
Of late, the girl’s family alleged that two people claiming to be associated with a group of the Taliban visited them and warned them against pursuing case against Hakeem Khan besides wanting abortion of pregnancy.
Also, the slain person had claimed that family members and friends of the accused had been pressuring his family, including his sister, for an out-of-court settlement.
When contacted, district police officer Sajid Ahmad Mohmand said Mr Alamzeb’s family had enmity with many families in the area and therefore, it would be premature to say who was involved in his killing.
He said police had thoroughly investigated Mr Alamzeb’s claim that he was threatened by the Taliban, and found it to be untrue.
Earlier in the day, scores of people from Takht Nusrati staged a sit-in outside the court of additional district and session judge Takht Nusrati against the cancellation of the bail of the three police officials and said they had been implicated in a fake case.
Led by former councilor of Alikhel Haqdad, they demanded fresh and impartial inquiry into the case. They later blocked the Karak-Mianwali Road in Takht Nusrati Bazaar and at Gul Khan Shah Chowk suspending traffic for a few hours.
INQUIRY ORDERED: In a letter issued by the deputy secretary (administration) of the department in Peshawar to the provincial police chief, it was stated that the subject murder in broad day light in such a high profile case and that too adjacent to the court reflected poorly on professionalism of the local police and it seemed that appropriate security measures were not in place.
“In the given circumstances it is requested to not only expedite completion of investigation into the rape incident, but also to initiate a thorough and transparent probe into the security lapse (if any) pertaining to the incident, especially so when some of those charged of rape were police officials, and take appropriate necessary action in light of that probe,” it stated.
PROTEST: Civil society groups in Peshawar condemned the killing and criticised the provincial government for failing to provide protection to the alleged gang rape victim’s family.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil society Network, comprising human rights organisations, demanded that the DPO and DCO of Karak be immediately transferred for influencing the investigation into the case to safeguard the interests of the accused policemen.