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Clash of titans produces two FIRs from one

January 11, 2010

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 10 In an unusual move, the police have registered two separate cases regarding the gun-battle fought by the armed guards of two real estate tycoons on Friday, right in front of the offices of the city's top civil and police administrators.

Usually police register just one FIR about an incident. Any additional information provided by the complainant - and even a counter-version filed by the rival party - are just attached to the original FIR.

But in this case the Margalla police treated the complaints filed by the security guards of Malik Riaz of Bahria Town-fame about the same incident as two separate FIRs.

Police sources said that security guard Tasawur Iqbal of Malik Riaz first lodged FIR 19 accusing rival tycoon Malik Tabarak Bari and his 13 alleged accomplices of unleashing unprovoked firing on his party.

FIR 20 lodged by his colleague Mohammad Iqbal later alleged that Malik Bari's men accosted the rival party and opened fire that injured Malik Riaz's security guard Zafar and a passerby. The accused fled after “terrorizing” the people, according to the FIR.

The case registered by the Margalla police on the basis of FIR 19 cited PPCs 148 (rioting with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 324 (attempt to commit murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 7-ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act). The one registered on the basis of FIR 20 cited the same charges but replaced PPC 353 with PPC 427 (mischief causing damage amounting to Rs50).

Both the FIRs nominated Malik Tabarak Bari, Malik Ishrat, Ashar, Ghazanfar, Isthiaq and Naeem along with six to seven unidentified persons as accused.

According to the sources, the FIRs were registered after long deliberations among some senior rank police officers at the residence of one of them in F-8/1.

A “big shot” and some influential persons also sat in the deliberations, the sources said but did not name them.

Police officers have remained inaccessible to the media to comment on the highly embarrassing incident and the one who was available chose to remain silent.

“Why are you trying to cost us our jobs,” he said when asked for some insight.

However, about the seeming anomaly in police registering two separate cases on the complaint of one party to the incident, the officer explained that the two complainants referred to two different incidents at separate spots that occurred 30 minutes apart.

“Technicalities obliged the police to register separate FIRs,” he said.

Until now, no complaint or statement had been received from Malik Tabarak Bari or his companions, he said, assuring that police would “definitely register” a case when one is received.

“Definitely police will register a case whenever it received complaint from them,” he added.

Some senior police officers and lawyers when contacted said, “an FIR means first information report and it should remain as one”.

According to them the three separate FIRs registered by the police in the Murtaza Bhutto murder case was a deliberate act to spoil the investigation and to save some souls.