LAHORE   -   Two people were killed and three wounded in a brazen gun attack at the Lahore airport, police said on Wednesday.

The Airport Security Force was blamed for “criminal negligence” as two assailants managed to enter the high-security zone with automatic weapons. Both the gunmen were arrested by police from the crime scene soon after the shooting.

The attackers once again sneaked into the premises of Allama Iqbal International Airport and opened fire on their opponents in the car-parking area. Wednesday’s gun-attack in the premises of the high-security airport has put a big question mark on the performance of the Airport Security Force.

According to initial police investigations, the shooting was an outcome of old enmity between two rival groups. The enmity between Nafees Jutt and Babar Butt groups has claimed several lives from both the sides in recent years.

Police are also investigating whether or not any airport staff was involved in facilitating the gunmen.

Police sources revealed that the scanners installed outside the airport to check vehicles and passengers’ luggage were dysfunctional for the last one and a half year. However, police were examining the CCTV footage of the incident to determine how many people were involved in the gun attack .

The deceased were identified by police as 32-year-old Zain Ali, a resident of Lakhoder and 40-year-old Muhammad Akram, said to be a taxi driver. Another three injured were shifted to hospital with multiple bullet wounds. They were identified as Saif Ullah, Sami Ullah, and Faraz.

Following the gun attack , Lahore DIG (Operations) Ashfaq Ahmad Khan visited the crime scene. The official told reporters at the airport that one of the victims died on the spot and while another succumbed to injuries at a hospital.

“Two suspects are taken into custody. Apparently, the attack was an outcome of old enmity between two rival groups,” the DIG said. “The arrested suspects had a criminal history and police are investigating the incident thoroughly.” DIG Ashfaq said the attackers managed to enter the parking area of the airport by dodging the security staff.

A relative of the deceased told the police that Zain Ali was attacked by “hired guns” in the parking-lot as he hired as taxi to leave for home. The taxi-driver, later identified as Muhammad Akram, was also killed in the shooting. The attackers waited for a considerable time in the parking area before targeting Zain Ali, who returned from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah.

A police official told The Nation that Zain Ali was nominated as accused person in the murder case of PPP leader Babar Butt. Nafees Jutt group allegedly had killed Babar Butt in March 2017. Former MNA and PML-N leader Shaukat Sohail Butt was also named in the FIR registered by police in connection with the murder case of Babar Butt.

According to his family, Zain Ali was targeted and killed by hired guns on the abetment of Qaiser Sohail Butt, a brother of Babar Butt. A few days ago, Qaiser Sohail left the country.

The bodies were moved to the morgue for autopsy. No case was registered with the police so far.

An official last night said that the police would register the double-murder case once the victim family would submit an application at the local police station. Further investigation was underway.

Lahore’s underworld don Arif Ameer alias Tipu Truckanwala had been targeted and killed in a similar gun attack in the parking area of the Lahore airport in January 2010. Tipu had been shot multiple times by a gunman shortly after he landed at the airport from Dubai.