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April 7, 2019

Boy killed in crossfire between police and criminals laid to rest


April 7, 2019

Another police encounter took another innocent life in Karachi. This time the victim was a 10-year-old boy who was caught in the crossfire between the police and criminals in the Quaidabad area late on Friday night.

The boy, Sajjad Khan, has been laid to rest but his killing has left so many questions about the police department’s failure to properly deal with criminals on the streets of Karachi.

This was the fourth similar incident in the last seven months in which innocent citizens of Karachi lost their precious lives during the ‘exchange of fire’ between the law enforcement agencies and criminals on the streets and busy thoroughfares of the city.

A 10-year-old girl, Amal, a final-year medical student, Nimrah, a mechanic, Rab Nawaz, and Sajjad have fallen victim to crossfire between the law enforcers and criminals in Karachi during the last seven months. Amal was shot during a police encounter in Defence, Nimrah died when she was hit by a bullet during a police encounter in the Sir Syed area, and Rab Nawaz was shot in the Tariq Road area during an encounter between the Rangers and suspects.

In the earlier incidents of the killings of Amal, Nimrah and Nawaz, it was initially claimed that they were shot dead by the criminals. However, investigations later revealed that Amal and Nimrah were in fact killed by the police firing.

This time, the police have again claimed that Sajjad was not killed by their firing and he was shot by criminals. However, the truth will be ascertained after the investigations into the incident are complete.

In the Friday night incident, the boy died on the spot while another 12-year-old boy, a suspected criminal and two policemen were injured in the crossfire between police and criminals in Bilal Colony within the limits of the Quaidabad police station.

“The boy died during crossfire,” says Quaidabad SHO Shoaib Qureshi. “Another boy, Omar, 12, was injured in the incident. He sustained minor injuries and was released from hospital after receiving first aid.”

Of the two injured policemen, the SHO explained, one was also released from hospital after first aid while the other, Ataullah, was critically injured after being shot multiple times and admitted to Aga Khan University Hospital.

Police officials said the injured cops in plainclothes were on their routine motorcycle patrol in the area when a notorious criminal, Sher Zaman, alias Dora, and his companion opened indiscriminate fire on them, injuring both of them.

Zaman was also injured when the police returned fire. He was arrested in an injured state while his companion managed to flee the scene. According to the police, Zaman was involved in various cases of crime, including attacks on the police, and was recently released on bail.

The police on Saturday registered an FIR No 94/19 against the arrested suspect and his companion under the sections of murder and attempt to murder along with the Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act. The case was registered on behalf of the state.

SHO Qureshi said the police were searching for Zaman’s accomplice who had managed to escape. The police also registered another case against the suspects for possessing illegal arms.

Funeral prayers

The funeral prayers for Sajjad were offered on Saturday near his home which were attended by a large number of people. He was later laid to rest at a local graveyard.

The family members, relatives and neighbours of the deceased boy also staged a protest against the incident. The victim’s father demanded that the higher authorities conduct an inquiry to investigate his child’s killing.

“My son has been killed and no one knows how actually he was killed. The police say he was killed by robbers but I want to ask them why they failed to protect my son and why they started the operation when they could not save innocent people in the crossfire,” questioned the frustrated father, Adalat Khan.

The father also asked whether the policemen were properly trained for dealing with criminals on roads

and streets.

An investigation team under the District Malir investigations SSP has been formed to ascertain the facts of the incident.

After the incident of Amal’s killing, the Supreme Court took notice of the girl’s death after which the policemen responsible for her death were arrested and punished. However, similar incidents that followed Amal’s killing show that the police department has failed to adopt any proper strategy to deal with their encounters with armed criminals on streets and thoroughfares of the city.

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