Police arrest 18 suspects in Peshawar swoop
PESHAWAR: As many as 18 senior members of two religio–political groups were rounded up on Monday as the police launched a crackdown to arrest suspects involved in targeted killing incidents in the provincial capital. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Imran Shahid confirmed the raids but said eight persons were arrested. “Raids have been conducted to arrest suspects behind the targeted killings,” the SSP told The News.
A source said those arrested included leaders of the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat as well as elders of the Shia community. Some of those detained during the raids were identified as Usman Farooqi, Irshad Haideri, Siddiqullah, Shah Faisal, Jan Farooqi, Aurangzeb Farooqi, Mohammad Gul, Nasrullah, Sajid, Sajjad and Jamal who were held during raids in different parts of the city. The raids started in the morning. Heavy contingents of Peshawar Police as well as commandoes of the Elite Police Force participated in the raids.
Target killings have increased in the provincial capital during the last few weeks and police are yet to lay hands on any of the groups involved in these attacks. The lawyer community boycotted the courts on Saturday and Sunday to protest the killing of senior lawyer Malik Jarrar Hussain in one such attack and injuries to an additional district and sessions judge Ihtisham Ali in another incident.
Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan also expressed displeasure over the performance of the Peshawar Police to bust the network behind these attacks, mostly carried out against the high-profile individuals from Shia community.
Malik Jarrar Hussain, a senior lawyer and former vice–chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, was killed last week in Gulbahar when he was dropping his children to their school.
Last month, ADSJ Ihtisham Ali was attacked in his car when he along with his wife, also a civil judge, was going out of their home. Ihtisham Ali is still under treatment.
Besides, two top doctors Dr Syed Riaz Hussain and Dr Shahnawaz Ali were killed in the recent weeks. Dr Riaz, the president of the Pakistan People’s Party for Kurram Agency, was on way to his clinic in Dabgari Gardens when attacked by armed motorcyclists. Dr Shahnawaz Ali was killed outside his clinic in Liaqat Bazaar in Peshawar Cantonment. A police officer of the community, SP Investigation Hilal Haider, was killed in a suicide attack in Qissa Khwani in November last year.