LAHORE - Police patrol fled the crime scene as motorcyclists fired indiscriminate shots outside the Karachi Paratha Roll in Liberty Market, eyewitnesses said yesterday.

A young waiter was shot dead by four motorcyclists in front of the famous food outlet late Wednesday. Many shops were shut after the horrific shooting.

Twenty-year-old Safeer, who sustained a bullet in the chest and expired within a few minutes, was the resident of Azad Kashmir and the only breadwinner for his family.

An eyewitness described the motorcyclists as eve-teasers. The shooters were passing remarks on a group of girls sitting in a car and using a laser-pointer to tease them when one of the waiters intervened.

“They were sitting on a motorcycle on other side of the road and were playing with a laser pointer when they started teasing our women customers,” said a waiter on anonymity.

The horrified boy said the motorcyclists got infuriated when one of the waiters shouted “don’t throw light on the girls. Are they your sisters?”

First they argued with the waiters and left the site. Then again, two of the four motorcyclists came back and resorted to gunfire in front of the food point. As a result, Safeer sustained a bullet in the chest while the gunmen fled on their two-wheeler. The motorcyclists fired seven to eight bullets with a pistol before fleeing. “There was a police mobile van right there, just a few meters away from the place where the gunmen were standing. As they opened fire, the policemen fled towards opposite direction,” the waiter said with tears in his eyes.

“Safeer was serving an order to some customers and he had nothing to do with this entire episode,” the waiter said. “Safeer died in front of me. He died a few seconds after he recited Kalma. It was terrible. We are terrified,” he held.

Another eyewitness said that a police mobile reached the crime scene at least ten minutes after the shooting. “They were the same cops who earlier fled the crime scene. They came back after sometime and asked us what has happened here?” he said.

Most of the waiters say they don’t know anything about the killers. “They were not our regular customers.”

Everyday many people visit the Karachi Paratha Roll, one of the oldest food points in Liberty Market, where most of the orders are served in a “drive-way” style. The street was jammed with food-lovers when the shooting took place in the posh locality at around 10pm on Wednesday.

Workers went on strike to protest against the horrific shooting which panicked customers and staff of several nearby restaurants as well. They staged a protest demonstration against the police and also chanted slogans against the Punjab government over worsening law and order situation in Lahore.

The brazen gun-crime in the busiest locality raises questions over police working and training. It indicates the police still hesitate when they come face-to-face with criminals. Recently, the provincial government equipped Lahore police with smart cars and phones but the cops are unable to catch the fleeing criminals. The law and order situation has been worsening in the heart of the province.

Police yesterday handed over the body to the family after the autopsy. The deceased was taken to his native town in Azad Kashmir for burial.

The Gulberg police registered a murder case against unidentified men on the complaint of Muhammad Rafique, uncle of the deceased. The police are investigating the killing with no arrest made yet.