Karachi: Ex-SHO pleads innocence in Baloch traders’ murder case
KARACHI: A suspended police officer told an anti–terrorism court on Wednesday that he and his associates were innocent as they had fired at a vehicle carrying four Baloch traders on Dec 31, 2008 only in self-defence. The then station house officer of the Anti-Car Lifting Cell, Malik Irshad, constables Zafar Iqbal, Zahoor Khan, Zaheer Mirza and Noor Shah have been charged with killing four traders from Balochistan on Dec 31, 2008 within the remit of the Ferozabad police station in a staged encounter. Accused Malik Irshad testified under oath that the police team was chasing another car that was snatched at gunpoint, but in the meantime they saw a similar vehicle and signaled it to stop. However, the occupants of the car opened fire on the chasing party, he added.
He said he was performing his duty as the ACLC SHO on the day of the incident and about 11pm he had received information from wireless operator about a carjacking incident in Boat Basin.
He stated that a tracker was installed in the car in question and he contacted the tracker company and sought location.
He said that his seniors had directed him to reach the location given by the car tracking firm. He along with his subordinates proceeded towards the said location and they remained in contact with the company and followed the vehicle, he added.
When they reached the junction of Tariq Road and Shaheed-i-Millat Road, information received that the subject car was coming towards the above location and meanwhile another car came from Bahadurabad side. The police signaled it, but the occupants of the car started firing, the accused said.
He deposed that accused Zahoor and Zaheer retuned fire in self-defence that had left two men dead and as many grievously injured, adding that two pistols were recovered from the possession of the injured persons.
He said three cases were registered against the deceased and injured persons on his complaint, but he claimed that a fair and impartial investigation was not conducted in these cases and the same were closed without collecting any evidence. “We are innocent, whatever happened was in performance of our duties and we did not take the law into our hands,” he concluded.
The other accused persons adopted the statement of Malik Irshad. The public prosecutor sought time for cross-examination.
Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the ATC–III adjourned the hearing to Nov 10 for cross-examination of the accused.
According to the prosecution, an ACLC team had allegedly killed four traders — Haji Mohammad Tahir Achakzai, Obaidullah Khan Tareen, Mohammad Ibrahim Achakzai, and Zainuddin Khan Achakzai — a little after midnight on Dec 31, 2008 on Khalid bin Walid Road within the remit of the Ferozabad police station.
All the suspended policemen were in custody apart from Zafar Iqbal, who was released on bail. The prosecution had closed its side after examining around 20 witnesses.
A case (FIR 32/09) was registered against the ACLC team under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint of Haji Lala Khan, the father of one of the four victims, following a Supreme Court order. Earlier, the police had registered a case under Section 319 (unintentional murder) of the PPC against the police officials after an inquiry into the incident.