LAHORE - A 15-year-old boy, abducted a couple of days ago for Rs3 million ransom, has been found strangled in a house just a stone’s throw from the Gowalmandi Police Station.

Muhammad Bilal, a resident of Ganda Engine area, went missing on Friday and was found dead on Monday. The slow response of police provided room to the suspected killers to flee to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Just about forty days ago, the unfortunate lad had returned from Saudi Arabia where he performed haj with his family, according to his relatives.

They claimed that Muhammad Saqib and his wife Pathani Bibi, who had relations with the deceased’s family, kidnapped Bilal for ransom.

The abductors rang the victim’s family from the boy’s cellphone and demanded Rs3 million ransom, and threatened to kill the boy if the family approached police, the relatives added. According to sources, the killers spoke in Pashto accent, lending credence to suspicions that they belonged to KPK.

When the family contacted the police, they referred the case to a local reconciliatory committee. “A local PML-N leader Arif Qureshi, tasked by the SHO to resolve the issue, gave 48 hours to the suspects to help the victim family trace the abducted,” the family said.

The suspected killer, along with his wife and two children, has fled to KPK province on a passenger bus after parking his car (LE-2116) near Niazi Bus Stand, police said, adding, the car has been seized.

According to a family member, the boy had alerted his family that he was going somewhere with Saqib on car, advising them to contact the police in case he did not return in two hours. The killers pushed pieces of cotton into victim’s mouth before strangulating him. “The body bore torture marks indicating that the killers also tortured the boy,” Ghulam Hussain, a maternal-uncle of the deceased told The Nation. “Had the police taken up the case seriously, the life of the only son of the family would have been saved,” he said with sobbing eyes.

Kidnappings for ransom are on the rise in the province, where the police registered 134 cases from January to October 2012. Out of these reported cases, 17 are under investigation while police have declared three such cases as untraceable. Several people were also killed by the abductors across the province this year while many returned safely after paying huge ransom amounts.