LAHORE, June 30: In what appeared to be a replica of a Bollywood-action movie, police shot and killed a murder convict after he gunned down an under-trial prisoner in the judicial lock-up at the Sessions Court on Saturday.
According to Islampura police, 37-year-old Muhammad Azam, who was brought from Sahiwal Jail to the District Courts in connection with hearing into two cases, shot dead Shafqat Nazir, 40, of Township inside Bakhshi Khana (judicial lock-up) around 1:30pm.
Following the murder, the police said, Azam took hostage some 35 prisoners at gunpoint for around an hour.
On being informed of the situation, the police surrounded the lock-up.
SSP (Operations) Baber Bakht Qureshi told Dawn Shafqat was facing a trial for allegedly killing his wife’s brother and was confined at the Kot Lakhpat Jail.
He said local police and Elite Force commandoes reached the spot shortly, took positions and asked the suspect to surrender.
The SSP said the suspect opened fire on the police from a toilet of Bakhshi Khana. He said after 15 minutes of cross-fire, Elite commandoes managed to kill the suspect.
A prisoner claiming to be an eyewitness said the suspect also threatened to kill some other inmates in an attempt to escape and held them hostage.
SSP Qureshi said they seized a pistol and some live rounds of bullets from the spot and shifted the bodies for an autopsy.
He said the police were working on the case from various angles. It was being looked into whether there was a plot to kill Shafqat as a scuffle between a lawyer, Rana Shakeel, and a head constable over a parking issue occurred minutes before the incident.
Police were also investigating as to who provided the weapon to Azam.
He said no CCTV cameras were installed in and around the judicial lock–up.
The SSP said Azam, who was handed down life imprisonment on three counts (84 years), was challaned in six cases and was shifted from Kot Lakahpat Jail to Sahiwal Central Jail in 2011 for creating law and order problem in the jail.
He said Azam had injured a judicial magistrate and a sub-inspector with blades at District Courts in 2011 and was booked in a 7-ATA case.
Mr Qurehsi said it appeared that the opponents of Shafqat had hired Azam to kill him.
He said ASI Manzoor Ahmad and his four constables who brought Azam from Sahiwal Jail, along with the three constables deployed at the barrack and main gate of Bakhshi Khana have been booked for dereliction of duty.
Islampura circle DSP Shamsul Haq and a prisoner also suffered minor injuries during cross-fire between the killer and police which continued for at least half-an-hour and triggered panic among judges, lawyers and visitors.
Witnesses said earlier a clash occurred between a lawyer, Rana Shakeel and Elite Force head-constable Nawab Din in front of Bakshi Khana’s main gate over car-parking. After the HC came out of the court along with a prisoner and tried to lock him up, a good number of lawyers led by Shakeel assembled there and started beating the HC. The DSPs of Police Lines and Islampura rushed to the scene and tried to reconcile the two sides.
Quoting a couple of prisoners, DIG (Operations) Rai Muhamad Tahir said during the brawl two people in lawyer’s uniform entered the barrack and handed over something wrapped in a cloth to the suspect. He said the prisoners’ statement would be part of the investigation.
By Our Staff Reporter