LAHORE - Lahore police falsely blamed PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri for the killing of two policemen to help the fragile Punjab government achieve political gains and settle scores with the anti-government protesters, it was learnt on Sunday.
According to investigations conducted by TheNation, one policeman died in a targeted attack allegedly carried out by robbers at Babu Sabu interchange while the other expired at a hospital after receiving severe head injuries in a road accident.
Lahore Police spokespersons, by issuing press releases, handouts, and sending text messages to the reporters on their cellular phones, spread misinformation in the local media on Saturday evening stating that both the policemen were killed by PAT workers during violent clashes.
On Saturday night, the reporters were informed that the funeral prayers of two ‘martyred policemen’ would be held at the Police Lines Qila Gujjar Singh on Sunday morning. When the media crews reached the Police Lines to cover the event, they witnessed only one dead body and that too was of Constable Muhammad Ali who died in a drive-by shooting near Babu Sabu interchange at Sherakot.
Police sources revealed that police intercepted two motorcyclists at a picket at the interchange. On facing resistance, Constable Ali tried to overpower one of the alleged bandits when his accomplice shot him in the belly. This resulted in the death of the cop.
Despite the undeniable facts that the funeral prayer of only one policeman was offered at the Police Lines on Sunday morning, Lahore Police interestingly issued a press release in the evening stating that the funeral prayers of two policemen was offered at the police headquarters.
“Funeral prayer of two martyred Muhammad Ali and Ashraf will be offered in police lines tomorrow (10-08-14) at 8am. IGP Punjab Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera, Lahore CCPO Zulfiqar Hameed, and DIG (Operations) Dr Haider Ashraf will also participate. Kindly cover the event,” this was the text message sent to the crimes reporters by the Lahore police media managers late Saturday.
Punjab IGP Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhera did not attend the funeral prayer while the dead body of Constable Muhammad Ashraf was also not brought to the Police Lines for his funeral prayer. The police officers had no answer when the reporters repeatedly asked about the missing body.
As the news regarding the death of a police constable at Babu Sabu interchange spread in the media on Saturday evening, Lahore Police spokespersons sent a text message to the reporters. Quoting Iqbal Town SP Dr Farrakh Raza, the spokesperson wrote that “his name is Muhammad Ali Azad, son of Zaheer Ali and (he’s ) a resident of Pakpattan district. He was martyred at Babu Sabu interchange by firing of unknown persons. He received bullet injury in abdomen and martyred.”
Police sources say they believe Constable Muhammad Ali was martyred by criminals and his death had nothing to do with the protest movement of PAT. “Constable Muhammad Ali is a martyred since he was targeted by gangsters. As per police policy, if a policeman is killed while fighting criminals he will be declared as a martyred and the police department would compensate the bereaved family as per the laid down criteria,” a police officer explained, requesting anonymity. “Initial investigations suggest that his death had nothing to do with the PAT protesters.”
Ironically, almost all the local TV news channels broadcast the footage of the funeral prayer of Constable Muhammad Ali with live commentary that he was killed during clashes. The police officers talked to the media about Constable Muhammad Ashraf while standing next to the body of Constable Muhammad Ali.
Talking to reporters after the funeral prayer, Lahore CCPO Zulfiqar Hameed claimed that Constable Ashraf died during clashes with PAT workers. He also said that the police registered a murder case against PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and his supporters on the application of Muhammad Aslam, father of the deceased.
The Lahore police chief further claimed that the PAT chief was nominated in the case on the request of father of the deceased. The complainant told the police that his son was killed by PAT workers during clashes ignited on the abetment of Tahirul Qadri.
More interestingly, the murder case against Dr Qadri was registered with the Naseerabad police station while the incident, even if police claims were true, must have happened in the limits of Faisal Town police.
PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri while addressing the participants of Youm-e-Shuhada revealed that constable Muhammad Ashraf was killed in road mishap. He was posted at the residence of a judge in the government officers’ residence (GOR). The constable riding on a motorcycle was on his way to a market when his bike bumped into a car. He was admitted to the Lahore General Hospital (LGH) with serious head injuries, where he expired later.
Late Sunday, a Punjab police spokesperson clarified that constable Muhammad Ashraf was not declared as martyred by the police department.