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Four men gunned down at Sohrab Goth

KARACHI, June 9: Four men, including two brothers, were killed and two others wounded when a group allegedly attacked a rival party at Sohrab Goth late on Saturday night after a disagreement over a jirga verdict.

Police said they learnt about the incident after guns fell silent as they were unaware of any such sitting held to settle a dispute between the two groups. However, they said since the area housed hundreds of families belonging to different tribes and Afghan refugees, the practice of jirgas to settle disputes was common in the locality.

“The sitting was arranged after a dispute emerged between two families of the Mehsud tribe living in the area,” said an official at the Sohrab Goth police station. “Six people from each side finally concluded the jirga after more than three hours at a roadside restaurant near Al-Asif Square. They were about to leave the place when armed men on motorcycles attacked them and rode away.”

The dead were identified as 40-year-old Irshad Khan Gul, Sher Alam, 25, Meer Alam, 33, and his 25-year-old brother Khair Alam. The wounded were identified as Shah Zaman and Noor Khan, who were taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for treatment.The mystery surrounded the motive and people behind the deadly attack as well as agenda of the jirga. It was the police operation in Afghan Basti and adjoining residential facilities that led to the arrest of suspects and brought to light what police described as facts behind the incident.

“People involved in the jirga or those aware of the issue first tried to cover up the situation and told police that area people had overpowered some bandits and the jirga decided to hand them over to the police. The jirga members were moving the suspects to the police station when they came under attack,” said DSP Iftikhar Lodhi, the area’s sub-divisional police officer.

However, he said, the police remained sceptical of the information and one fact after another unfolded the series of events behind the jirga and its agenda.

“Almost a week ago, a few women of a family complained to elders and social workers of their locality against some area youngsters,” said DSP Lodhi. “Four youngsters, identified as culprits, were brought last night to the roadside restaurant. After heated discussions, the two sides decided to hand over the youngsters to the police.”

Since the suspects, he said, were denying the allegations and resisting the jirga, it seemed their fellows were ready for the assault to help them escape.

“The area was tense today [Saturday], but life returned to normality after the burial of the victims. We have more than a dozen suspects and some clues that may help identify the attackers and lead to their arrest,” added DSP Lodhi.