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Sunday Jan 20 2019

Sahiwal killings: ‘Terrorist’ driver started firing when intercepted, says CTD

A footage of the alleged shootout in Sahiwal 

SAHIWAL: The Counter-Terrorism Department, in a statement detailing its version of Saturday’s alleged encounter in Sahiwal that left four people, including two women, dead, claimed that the “terrorist” driving the car shot at the police when intercepted.

Four persons – including a husband, wife and their teenage daughter – were killed while their minor son received bullet wounds in an alleged shootout in Sahiwal on Saturday. CTD personnel said they had killed a local commander of militant organisation Daesh and three others in the operation. Eyewitnesses, however, disputed the claim and said the people in the car did not fire at officials, nor were any explosives recovered from the vehicle.

In a statement detailing its version of the incident, CTD said its Sahiwal team was informed to intercept the vehicle in question. “When the vehicle was intercepted at 12:15 noon [Saturday], it did not stop. The driver started shooting at the CTD team. The car was followed by a motorcycle with two riders. They also fired at the CTD team. The shootout resulted in death of one terrorist Zeeshan and accompanying family members,” the statement read.

“The vehicle had tinted glasses, hence children on rear seat were not seen. The family became victim of circumstances.

“Zeeshan misused his position and gave the family a ride to Burewala. In fact, Zeeshan was carrying explosives of terrorists who were travelling on [the] motorcycle. After dropping the family in Burewala, Zeeshan had planned to drop explosives somewhere in Khanewal or Multan,” CTD said in the statement.

The statement added that the Khaleel family may not have been “aware of the status of Zeeshan, who had become a terrorist. The family was trapped by the terrorists. They became victim of circumstances.”

The CTD further said that when the news of the incident was aired on TV, there were terrorists hiding in Zeeshan’s house who saw the news and fled from the house. They were, however, spotted by intelligence surveillance.

The Daesh network in question had killed three ISI officers in Multan, including the nephew of former chief justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, and a police officer in Faisalabad. It had also kidnapped Ali Haider Gillani, the son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, from Multan, and US national Warren Weinstein from Lahore, the CTD statement said.

On January 13, these terrorists were spotted in a Suzuki vehicle which was traced to Zeeshan’s house in Chungi Amar Sidhu, Lahore, CTD added. 

The CTD officials involved in the alleged extrajudicial killing were taken into custody on the orders of Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar, a CM House spokesperson said earlier. 

The Punjab chief minister gave the directives for the CTD personnel's arrest after Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the incident and demanded a transparent probe into the killings.  

Initial postmortem report

According to initial findings from a postmortem carried out on the bodies of the deceased, the driver, Zeeshan, received 10 bullets while the children's father, Khaleel, was shot 13 times. 

The mother, Nabeela Bibi, received four bullets while 13-year-old Areeba was shot six times. 

Their minor son Umair received bullet wounds on his leg whereas his young sister Muneeba was injured by the shattered glass windows of the car. The two children were being treated at Lahore's General Hospital while four-year-old Hadia was discharged from the hospital and taken home. 

The relatives of the slain family continued to protest overnight, demanding justice and prompt action against the perpetrators. They staged a sit-in at GT Road where they placed the bodies of the deceased and refused to be moved until a case was registered against the incident.