RAWALPINDI - Additional District and Sessions Judge Tahir Khan Niazi was gunned downed by three unknown assailants at his residence in A-Block, Sadiqabad, near Bilal Hospital, on Wednesday.

Reportedly, three unidentified culprits arrived at the residence of ADSJ Tahir Khan Niazi on a motorcycle and rang the doorbell to call somebody outside. As soon as the gate was opened by the tenants, two assailants forced their entry into the house and fired at the ADSJ, injured him critically and fled.

The maimed judge was shifted to Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) for medical treatment where the doctors pronounced him dead.

A source told The Nation that a scuffle occurred between the two attackers and Tahir Niazi after which the third attacker who was standing outside the gate came forward and fired two bullets at the judge, injuring him seriously. The killers sped away on their motorcycle towards Murree Road, he said.

Locals shifted the injured judge to BBH where he succumbed to injuries, the source said. Later, his body was shifted to the district headquarters hospital for postmortem.

On receiving information, a heavy contingent of police, headed by Regional Police Officer (RPO) Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja, City Police Officer (CPO) Israr Ahmed Khan Abbasi, SSP (Operations) Karamat Ullah Malik, Rawal Division acting SP Sardar Babar Mumtaz, New Town Circle DSP Faisal Salim and Sadiqabad SHO Malik Allah Yar, reached the spot. They collected evidences and recorded statements of the family members and eyewitnesses.

Personnel of sensitive departments and other law-enforcement agencies, a large numbers of judges, including, Rawalpindi Sessions Judge Akhtar Ali Bahadur, Lahore High Court Bar Association former President Taufeeq Asif, Mehdi Shah, Punjab Bar Council member Zulfiqar Abbas Naqvi, Sana Ullah Zahid, prominent lawyer Zamurrard Khan and ex-MPA Zia Ullah Shah also reached the residence of the judge. Later, they went to the hospital to review the medical process.

Talking to media persons, CPO Israr Ahmed Khan Abbasi said three culprits entered the house of Tahir Niazi, shot him dead and escaped from the scene on a motorcycle. “The attackers fired two bullets, injuring him critically,” he said. “Tahir Niazi was alive till his shifting to the hospital,” Israr stated.

He said the interrogation team would investigate the matter from all angles to find out whether it was a target killing or result of an old enmity or a robbery attempt. The police would arrest the killers soon, the CPO pledged.

Responding to a query, the CPO replied the security had been beefed up in the city and search operations were being conducted on daily basis to purge the localities of suspects. “I have provided police security guards to all the judges,” he added.

Heart-moving scenes were witnessed in the hospital where the relatives and colleagues of the deceased judge had gathered.

According to initial postmortem report, the judge sustained one bullet injury in his left ribs. The kidney of the judge had also been damaged.

Later, the doctors sent the body to Holy Family Hospital (HFH) where it was kept in mortuary.

The killing of a judge in broad daylight by armed attackers not only exposed poor law and order situation in Sadiqabad but also spread panic among traders and locals.

Sadiqabad SHO Malik Allah Yar, when contacted, said the police were busy investigating the murder and would arrest the killers soon. No application for registration of a case had so far been received from the judge’s family members, he said, adding the case would be registered after an application was received.

Prominent lawyer Sardar Taufeeq Asif, while talking to The Nation, said Tahir Khan Niazi, a brave judge, was hearing a number of murder cases besides conducting jail trials. He termed the murder a target killing.

According to a source, the funeral prayer of Niazi would be held at Cow Square on Rawal Road today (Thursday) at 11am amid tight security.