Thursday October 21, 2021

Ex-SHO, two other cops get life in prison for killing boy in fake shootout

September 23, 2021
Ex-SHO, two other cops get life in prison for killing boy in fake shootout

An anti-terrorism court (ATC) has sentenced three police officials, including a former station house officer (SHO), to life imprisonment for killing a teenage boy and injuring another in a fake encounter that was conducted a little over four and a half years ago.

The then SHO of the Gulshan-e-Maymar police station, inspector Mir Muhammad Lashari, and his subordinates, sub-inspector Qaiser Khan and constable Muhammad Punhal, were booked for murdering 17-year-old Muhammad Ashraf and wounding his friend Ali Akbar, who was almost the same age, in a staged shootout on March 9, 2017.

According to the FIR that was lodged by Ashraf’s maternal uncle Muhammad Shafi, he along with his nephew Ashraf, and their neighbour Taj Muhammad along with his son Akbar were returning home on two motorbikes after attending a Qawwali programme at the Karim Shah shrine in Gulshan-e-Maymar at around 9pm when some police officials stopped them at a picket escorted by a police mobile and a private car near Sanober Heights in the neighbourhood.

Shafi said that his neighbour was riding pillion with him, while the boys were on the other motorbike. He added that Lashari asked them for the motorbikes’ documents, which he showed to them, but Ashraf had left his vehicle’s documents at home.

He said that Lashari told him and his neighbour to fetch the documents, while he would keep the boys in his custody. He added that when they returned, the police picket was gone, so they went to the Gulshan-e-Maymar police station, where a man told them to go to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital because the boys had been shot.

Lashari and his accomplices had claimed that the boys were robbers and had been killed in an exchange of fire with the police, but when the incident was highlighted in the media, the then Sindh police chief AD Khawaja had ordered an inquiry, which charged the police officials with abduction and extrajudicial killing.

Pronouncing the verdict, the ATC-IV judge observed that the accused had been spared from capital punishment due to the mitigating circumstances, since there was a joint role of the accused in the indiscriminate firing, so no one could say with certainty whose bullet hit whom.

Therefore, he sentenced the accused to life imprisonment and ordered each of them to pay a compensation of Rs100,000 to the heirs of Ashraf. He also awarded them an additional five years’ jail term for the offence of wounding Akbar.