Lahore: FIA blast ‘suspect’ dies in Sabzazar police custody
LAHORE: Muhammad Afzal, a 26-year-old goods’ transporter and accused of involvement in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) blasts on March 11, died in police custody on Wednesday.
The Sabzazar police arrested him on Saturday, when he was on his way home after attending a wedding. In an official statement, a police spokesman said that after the explosions at the FIA building, the Civil Lines Police registered a case 296/2008 under sections 302, 324 and 427 of the Pakistan Penal Code, sections 4 and 5 of Explosive Act and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA). During the investigation, law enforcers collected the whereabouts of the vehicle, bearing registration number STK-3985, involved in the explosion. The vehicle was sold by King Motors on Abbot Road and was registered under the name of Muhammad Afzal, a resident of Bilal Gunj. The police included Muhammad Afzal in the investigation. On Wednesday morning, Afzal was found dead in the Sabzazar Police Station lockup.
Constables suspended The police high-ups said that reasons behind Afzal’s death would be established after a detailed autopsy report. They added that three on-duty constables had been suspended.
Police sources said that Afzal was in the custody of the Cantonment Police where he gave his statement that he purchased the vehicle for Rs 294,000 and sold it at Rs 330,000 in an open letter through a middleman. “On Tuesday night, Afzal was handed over to Sabzazar Police as his statements were ‘dubious’,” sources said.
Sources said that the law enforcers had arrested another transporter, Amir, from Mochi Gate Stand, who brought police to his house. The sources said that the police also arrested Shehzad, the middleman in the deal of the vehicle, who charged Rs 20,000 for his services. “Amir is still in the custody of the investigation team,” sources said.
Sources said that the police also registered a fake case of car theft against Afzal in the Sabzazar Police Station to save their skin.
Afzal’s neighbour, Shujja, told Daily Times on Saturday, March 22, that two policemen came to ask about Afzal’s whereabouts; his friends and behaviour. He further said that on Sunday, Afzal was on his way home with his neighbour, Muhammad Sarwar, when a police team intercepted them on Ravi Road, and took Afzal to an unidentified place. They told Sarwar that they would release him after the investigation.
Afzal’s mother-in-laws, Sakina, told Daily Times that Afzal had three children and was the only earning hand of his family as well as for his in-laws, because his father-in-law died a few months ago and his only brother-in-law was mentally unstable.