Tuesday, December 07, 2021

14-year-old Karachi boy shot dead in alleged police encounter

A representational image. Photo: file
A representational image. Photo: file

  • Relatives of 14-year-old say Mehsud was a student, did not have any firearm on him. 
  • Deceased's relatives stage sit-in outside Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. 
  • DIG West Aftab rejects police's version that the victim had fired first at police. 

A 14-year-old Karachi youngster was shot dead in an alleged encounter, triggering protests by his relatives.  

The incident took place in Karachi's Orangi-5 area where Arsalan Mehsud was shot dead by police while his friend sustained bullet wounds. 

After the incident took place, Mehsud's relatives arrived at the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital and staged a sit-in protest to demand justice for the boy. Mehsud's relatives rejected the police's version, saying that he was a student and was not guilty of any wrongdoing. 

"No firearm was recovered from Arsalan. Police killed him in a fake encounter," members of the bereaved family stated.

Police had earlier claimed that they had tried to stop two men on a motorcycle at a picket. The two men, in response, opened fire instead of stopping, claimed police.  Police said one of the suspects died while his accomplice managed to escape.

However, DIG West Nasif Aftab rejected the statement of the police officer who had shot at the victim, saying that the suspicious encounter did not take place at the picket. Rather, he said it took place at a distance from it. 

According to the DIG West, the on-duty police personnel who fired at the youngsters was in plainclothes, not in his uniform. The police officer involved in the incident has been taken into custody, he disclosed.

"A police official named Toheed and a man identified as Umair tried to stop the young men near Orangi police station," he said. "When the boys refused to stop, Toheed opened fire on them."

He said that one of the bullets had hit Arsalan on his waist, which led to his demise. "While the survivor, Yasir, had received a bullet in his leg."

A three-member inquiry committee comprising SSP Central, SSP Investigation Central and SP Gulberg has been formed to investigate the incident. SHO Orangi has been suspended over the incident. 

The committee will present its report after 24 hours after which immediate action will be taken based on its findings, said the DIG West. 

Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh arrived on the spot after hearing about the incident. 

According to a report, the deceased was the son of a local transporter. 

Later in the day, the wounded friend — identified as Yasir — told police that they were riding a motorcycle when the two men, who were also riding a motorcycle, signalled them to stop.

"We thought the men had come to snatch our motorbike, so we fled from the site," he said.

'Murder of teenager reopened old wounds': Murad Saeed

Taking notice of the incident, Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said the murder of a 14-year-old has reopened old wounds.

Referring to the incident of Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was killed by then-Malir SSP Rao Anwar in Karachi in 2018 in what was later determined to be a fake encounter, Saeed stated: “PPP-recruited Sindh police thugs go around causing the deaths of innocent people.”

The minister said that former president Asif Ali Zardari is not ready to get rid of the “criminals recruited in Sindh police.”

“We will not let Arsalan Mehsud’s murder be suppressed,” he said, urging Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah to hold those involved in this case accountable instead of protecting them.