Muzaffarabad: 8 gunned down by rivals
MUZAFFARABAD: Eight people, closely related to each other, were gunned down by their rivals in the southernmost Bhimber district of Azad Kashmir on Wednesday, in what was described as the worst incident of violence in the region in many years. The deceased who were heading in a double-cabin pickup to Bhimber city from the town of Samahni to appear before the court of district and sessions judge in connection with a last year’s murder case when they were ambushed by their rivals, who also belong to their family, near Groohn village, police said.
The assailants opened a volley of fire on the double cabin, killing all of its occupants on the spot, police official Mohammad Khalil told Dawn from Samahni by telephone.
The assailants fled from the scene but Mohammad Sarwar, a relative of the deceased who was also heading to Bhimber in a separate vehicle, identified them as Altaf and Shahbaz, sons of late Raja Mushtaq, in the FIR. According to Mr Khalil, the alleged assassins believed that the deceased were involved in the murder of their father in July last year.
The deceased who were going to appear before the court in the same case, were identified as Mumtaz Khan, son of Sandal Khan and his sons, Ayaz, Gohar and Shahzad; Amjad and Mubeen, sons of Mohammad Ilyas; Bilal, son of Ilyas and Shamraiz, son of Naib Khan.
Witnesses said soon after the incident, additional police force was called in from Bhimber as the relatives of the deceased and other residents of the area blocked the road outside the civil hospital Samahni, demanding arrest of the killers.
However, police and district administration officials negotiated with them, holding out assurances that the murderers would soon brought to justice.
Mr Khalil said though the atmosphere in the area was tense the situation was under the control.