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August 9, 2018

Factory worker booked under terror charges for taking colleagues hostage


August 9, 2018

The administrative judge of anti-terrorism courts granted police on Wednesday four-day physical remand of factory worker Saleem Shehzad over charges that he had held staffers of the factory for four hours and terrorized them a day earlier.

The gun-wielding Shehzad, a native of Punjab’s Rajanpur town, had taken his fellow workers hostage over salary dues owed by the owners on Tuesday. The man told the court that he had been facing great economic hardships that had frustrated him and compelled him to hold workers and management of the factory hostage for four hours.

He said the owners of the factory located along the Super Highway had failed to clear his dues due to which he made people hostage at gunpoint. Later, Shehzad told journalists that he acted against the officers of the factory and not against the workers. He claimed that he had not committed any wrongdoing and had fought for his rights.

The hostage taker was said to have also threatened to carry out a suicide attack if his demands were not met. He also made an appeal to the army chief and the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the situation. He claimed that he was injured in a factory accident two months ago and the owner instead of paying for his treatment terminated his contract.

FIR under ATA

The Gadap City Police booked Shehzad under attempt to murder and terrorism charges. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Munir Ahmed Shaikh of District Malir said that had been expelled from Al Mustafa Crush Co by the factory owner, Zahid, a few months ago.

When he returned to the factory to get his dues, he acted as per his plan and took hostage three employees -- Muhammad Dilshad, Salman Hassan Khan and Muhammad Nawaz. The three escaped to safety when ASI Muhammad Moosa tried to enter the room to release the hostages. Seeing the cop, Shehzad allegedly fired three shots.

Later, he surrendered after negotiations with police and Rangers personnel. They seized a pistol with 26 cartridges from his possession. An FIR was lodged against him under sections pertaining to attempt to murder, a police encounter, illegal confinement and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Investigation sources said Shehzad had been working in the company for the past one year. His job had been terminated two to three months ago when a machine fell on the ground and injured him.

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