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Saturday Feb 09 2019

Police claims of not initiating fire are false, says Sahiwal 'encounter' eyewitness


LAHORE: The son of one of the men killed in the alleged Sahiwal encounter while recording his statement before the joint investigative team (JIT) on Friday refuted Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) personnels' claims that they did not initiate fire.

Umair, the son of Khalil, was in the car during the alleged shootout in Sahiwal on January 19 which claimed the lives of his father, mother and teenage sister along with driver Zeeshan — who CTD personnel claimed was a local commander of militant organisation Daesh.  

In his statement to the JIT, a copy of which is available with Geo News, the 12-year-old who was injured in the shootout recalled that he along with his parents and sisters Areeba, Muniba and Hadia had left their home at 8am. When our car reached near Qadirpur, someone opened fired at it from behind, he said.

“Because of the firing, our car collided with the footpath and an official, whose face was covered, opened fire on our driver Zeeshan and killed him,” the 12-year-old added.

Umair continued that two police pickups soon reached the scene. "When the firing paused, we could hear one of the officials speaking on the phone." My father then started pleading with the masked officials and told them to “take whatever they wanted but spare our lives”, he added.

“At that point, the official got off the phone and ordered the others to start shooting again," he added. “The police opened fire for a second time and my parents and sister Areeba were killed.”

"My father had hidden Muniba in his lap, while my mother had hidden Hadia and me," the 12-year-old continued. 

Umair further said, after the firing stopped for the second time, the officials pulled out his sisters and him from the car and started shooting at the vehicle once again. They then put his sisters and him in another vehicle and left them at a deserted place.

“Eventually an unknown person picked us up and left us at a petrol pump. The officials then came to the petrol pump and took us to a hospital,” he said.

Umair said there were no explosive materials in their car and upheld that the "statement issued by the CTD officials was fabricated".

On January 31, CTD officials, who were arrested after the incident, had refused that they opened fire at the car. CTD officials Safdar, Ramzan, Saif Ullah and Hasnain told the JIT that those seated in the car "were killed in firing by their accomplices on motorcycles".

Sources further said that the JIT members questioned the officials regarding who gave the orders to fire at the people in the car and they once again refused to have opened fire first. “Nobody ordered us, we only fired in retaliation,” the officials added.

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