Sunday Apr 02, 2017
SARGODHA: The custodian of a shrine in Sargodha confessed to torturing and murdering at least 20 disciples, including four women, on Sunday, police said.
The suspect, Abdul Waheed, who was the custodian of Darbar Ali Muhammad Gujjar, a shrine in Chak-95 of Sargodha, used a dagger and sticks to kill his victims, Sargodha Deputy Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chatta said.
Waheed called the victims, and asked them to visit the shrine.
Six of the deceased belonged to the same family.
Speaking to Geo News, Chatta said Waheed and his accomplices first intoxicated the disciples then tortured them with machetes and batons, eventually killing them.
The DC added he believed Abdul Waheed suffers from a 'critical mental disorder'.
Two women and as many men managed to escape, in an injured condition, from the shrine. One of them reported the horrendous crime to locals who then informed the police. The injured were admitted at district headquarters hospital. One of the women tried to say something but could not speak much.
DC Sargodha quoted Waheed as saying that he killed his disciples because, according to him, they poisoned his spiritual leader, Ali Muhammad, to death two years ago. Waheed told the police that had he not killed them, they would have poisoned him too.
One of the victims included the son of Waheed's spiritual leader. "Asif Pir Ali was the son of Muhammad Gujjar [the spiritial leader]," said a family member of the deceased.
Asif was an employee of the Islamabad police. He was on leave, which is why he was in Sargodha.
Asif Pir Ali
Earlier the DC had quoted Waheed as claiming that his victims underwent 'spiritual cleansing' after he tortured them.
The custodian worked for the Election Commission in Sargodha – his office card was found in his possession, the official informed. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, Waheed retired from service a year ago.
Another official told the media the deceased people's bodies were found unclothed.
The victims hailed from different areas of Punjab.
The shrine was cordoned off for a search operation.
A view of the cordoned off shrine. PHOTO: AFP
However, the Saturday night incident does not seem to be the first at the shrine; Rescue 1122 Incharge Mazhar Shah informed the media that locals said Waheed would go to the shrine once or twice a month and torture people during his visit.
One of the locals told Geo News Waheed would go to the shrine and beat people after which he would take their clothes off and burn them. He added noise would come from the shrine but no one went in to check.
The bodies of 14 of the deceased have been handed over to the respective bereaved families after post-mortem.
Bereaved relatives wait at a hospital to receive the bodies of victims murdered at the shrine. PHOTO: AFP
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif took immediate notice of the incident and formed an inquiry committee comprising regional police officers Sunday morning.
The chief minister expressed his condolences over the incident and ordered best possible medical treatment to be given to the injured.
CM Shehbaz has summoned a report on the incident from IG Police within 24 hours. The chief minister has also ordered Punjab Auqaf and Religious Affairs Minister Zaeem Qadri to visit the site of the incident.
The chief minister has announced an amount of Rs500,000 for families of each of the deceased person, while Rs200,000 has been announced for each injured person.
With additional input from Lahore and Islamabad