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Killing of SHO, constable ‘Militant escaped owing to flawed police plan’

Killing of SHO, constable  ‘Militant escaped owing to flawed police plan’

FAISALABAD: A trap set up by police to arrest alleged members of a proscribed outfit who killed two policemen, in fact, ended up in the suspects managing to escape with a detained woman suspect.

The woman, reportedly wife of Salman alias Shabbir Randhawa – believed to be a member of the militant Islamic State group, was taken into custody from Chenab Nagar, Chiniot, a few days ago. Her location was disclosed by suspects arrested and being interrogated by the Millat Town police in connection with the killing in January of two policemen — Naseem and Khalid. She was arrested in a raid of the Elite Force and Crimes Investigation Agency.

Police claimed Randhawa was also involved in the killing of Naseem and Khalid in the limits of Millat Town police.

Talking to Dawn on anonymity, policemen said that on Saturday night their fellows had set up a trap asking Randhawa’s wife to convince him that she had been released and he should come to pick her up. She succeeded in doing so and Randhawa asked her to reach the city bus station and wait at a tea stall.

Some policemen in plainclothes reached the tea stall with the woman, while Madina Town Station House Officer (SHO) Nadeem Anjum and his gunman Shehzad waited outside the station. They said Randhawa asked his wife to come towards Shadman Road adjacent to the bus stand. Police rushed towards the entry gate of the bus station where the SHO was already present.

They said Randhawa reached the bus station on a motorcycle along with an associate. However, it is suspected that he found out about the presence of police. The policemen said one apprehension is that he had noticed a police constable close to his wife and second is that the constable had tried to net him when he reached near his wife. Randhawa opened fire and killed Shehzad and then SHO Anjum; two passersby were also shot at on suspicion that they were policemen in plainclothes.

Policemen claimed that except the SHO the other policemen deputed on the spot were not aware of whom they were going to arrest. They had just been directed by the SHO to watch the woman and trap her husband. However, they claimed Madina Town Superintendent of Police (SP) Malik Jameel Zafar was well aware of the entire plan. They alleged that despite having complete information about the plan, not a single senior police officer joined the operation.

However, the police sources said it was incorrect that applicant of the incident’s first information report (FIR), Maghfoor Ahmed, who is serving as acting SHO of Civil Lines, was on the spot. Ahmed had claimed in the FIR that he was on spot and saw proclaimed offenders Randhawa, Kashif alias Kashi, Sikandar, and Abdul Ghaffar alias Jhora firing at and killing SHO Anjum and his gunman Shehzad.

Khaliq, a security guard, said the criminals opened fire on police, got the woman on motorcycle and escaped from the scene. He said it was surprising that criminals had killed policemen and there was no one to challenge them.

Madina Town SP Zafar said: “Yes, I was after him and I arrested his companions earlier. I was not able to join Nadeem (the slain SHO) and Irum Shah (Sargodha Road SHO) as I was in Chiniot at that time with another team along with Sajad Qamar (Peoples Colony SHO) where his location and information was revealed.”

He further said that at the time of the incident, there was no information that Randhawa was expected at the bus stand in Barnala Khichian. It was a decoy mission so the police force was undercover in plainclothes. “I have carried out all the arrests in this case,” the SP said.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2017

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