Monday Apr 05, 2021
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province's top cop has said authorities were investigating the horrific murder of an anti-terrorism court (ATC) judge and his family "on a scientific basis".
KP Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Dr Sanaullah Abbasi told Geo News that eight suspects had been booked for murder in a first information report (FIR) registered over the killing of four people — including ATC judge Aftab Khan Afridi, as well as his wife, daughter-in-law, and maternal grandson — at the M-1 (Islamabad-Peshawar) Motorway.
Abbasi added that some suspects had also been arrested by a team — led by the deputy inspector-general of police (DIG) for Mardan, Yaseen Farooq.
The FIR was filed on behalf of the deceased judge's son, Majid Afridi, said Swabi District Police Officer (DPO) Muhammad Shoaib who had earlier reached the crime scene with DIG Farooq.
DPO Shoaib explained during operations carried out by the police in Peshawar and Khyber district, the car in question was recovered and five suspected individuals were taken into custody.
A day prior, unidentified assailants had opened indiscriminate fire at Afridi, the ATC judge, and his wife, daughter-in-law, and son at the Ambar Interchange in the Swabi district. The firing incident had also left two security guards wounded and the deceased's bodies were shifted to the Bacha Khan Medical Complex (BKMC).
Sources had earlier informed Geo News that the judge and his family were on their way back from Swat — where he was serving for the last two months — to Islamabad. All four were martyred in the targeted attack in the Chota Lahor City police station's jurisdiction.
KP police chief Abbasi refused to comment on details of the case but said the Swabi police would conduct a thorough scientific investigation into the murder case. "Investigative agencies are probing the case," he said.
The top cop noted that four of the eight individuals named in the FIR were said to be present on the site of the murder. The KP Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) aided DIG Farooq in arresting some of the suspects, he added.
On the other hand, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Abdul Latif 'Lala' Afridi and his son, Danish Afridi, were also nominated in the FIR — a move that drew strong condemnation from the SCBA.
Speaking to Geo News over the phone, the SCBA president denied having any links to the killing of the ATC judge or planning the murder.
While he distanced himself from the incident, he condemned the judge's murder.
Latif Afridi also said he was not in Swabi at the time of the murder. The truth would come out, he added, noting that he was ready to join the investigation and police inquiry of the case.
"Police can initiate whatever type of inquiry they wish to do so and I'm ready" for that, he said.
Separately, the SCBA strongly condemned Latif Afridi's nomination as a suspect in the Swat ATC judge's murder case, stressing that the body's president had "nothing to do with the killing."
A false case was registered against him, the SCBA said in a statement, clarifying that Latif Afridi and his son were working in the fields when judge Aftab Afridi and his family were killed.
Attacking a woman was against the Pashtun traditions, the statement quoted Latif Afridi as saying, adding that he was ready for any kind of cooperation.
The district bar council boycotted the courts today over the incident as well.
On the other hand, the brother of the deceased judge, Saeed Afridi, told reporters that the motive of the incident seemed to be a personal feud. However, while he stressed that the bodies would not be removed from the hospital until the suspects were arrested, the martyrs' funeral prayers were offered in Peshawar.
A large number of people, including various lawyers, attended the funeral prayers, following which the martyrs were buried in the ancestral graveyard of their native village.
Earlier, on Sunday night, Prime Minister Imran Khan had "strongly" condemned the quadruple murder, vowing to arrest the suspects behind the "gruesome act".
"The perpetrators of this gruesome act will be apprehended & dealt with full severity of the law," he wrote on Twitter after the news of the murder was reported.
—Additional reporting by Bushra Khalid, Rizwan Yousufzai, and Saima Sajjad in Peshawar