Islamabad - Unidentified assailants on Friday gunned down Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, a renowned lawyer representing the government in high-profile cases such as Benazir murder and 26/11. The attackers fled from the scene without being intercepted by police.

Unidentified men intercepted Zulfiqar in a heavily guarded commercial area of Sector G-9, Markaz (Karachi Company) of Islamabad in broad daylight, police said.

They sprayed a volley of bullets on his car and also shot him in the head. He died on the spot.

According to eyewitnesses, the driver lost control of the car after receiving a bullet and crushed to death a woman crossing the road. The surviving driver said they were heading to Rawalpindi for the hearing of the Benazir assassination case in the Anti-Terrorism Court.

A wave of fear gripped the entire locality following the incident. According to eyewitnesses, mostly students, the firing was heard half a kilometer away. “It appeared as if someone was firing on us. The driver of the bus accelerated the vehicle following our screams,” a student heading to Iqra University by a bus, told The Nation.

According to a spokesperson for PIMS, Zulfiqar received 17 bullets, causing his instant death. His bodyguard Farman Ali received a single bullet and is said to be stable.

The initial postmortem revealed the prosecutor received 17 bullets and the bullet to his head caused his instant death. A complete medical report, however, would take two days.

PIMS’s medical board which conducted the postmortem of Chaudhry Zulfiqar comprised Professor Tanvir Khalique, Dr Ashok Tanwani, Naseer Ahmad, Farrukh, Mutahir Shah and Nasreen Butt.

Following the incident, Caretaker Interior Minister Malik Mohammad Habib Khan ordered constitution of a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the case and the Islamabad chief commissioner issued a notification in this regard. The JIT will be headed by DIG (Security) Tahir Alam Khan and Yasin Farooq SSP (Operations), Mustansir Faroz SP (Investigations), Jamil Hashmi SP (Sadar) and Rasheed Niazi, SDPO Margalla. Representatives of FIA and CID will also be its members.  No group claimed responsibility for the murder. However, the incident has exposed tall claims of the IGP Islamabad that the police had made the capital the country’s safest city.

According to family sources, the prosecutor had been receiving threats from certain quarters. They said the victim had brought it to the knowledge of the Inspector General, Islamabad, and sought security.

The prosecutor was gunned down at a time when there have been important developments in both the Mumbai attack case and the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

Special prosecutor FIA Chaudhry Zulfiqar has left behind two sons and a widow. He was a resident of district Jhelum and was at present settled at G-9, Islamabad.

The FIA had appointed him as a special prosecutor in the Benazir assassination case when the investigation into this case was assigned to FIA four years ago. He presented six challans in the court and was to present the 7th. He also a member of the judicial commission which visited India last year to probe the Mumbai case.