LAHORE - A ‘hired-gun’ killed a handcuffed suspect in front of police inside the District Courts on Monday. The shooter courted his arrest to the police after ensuring on-the-spot death of the suspect.

The victim identified as Aslam alias Acha Bhatti was arrested by police, a few months ago, for killing the nephew of a powerful political figure in Lahore. The attacker pumped several bullets into his body when Bhatti was brought in the courts for hearing.  An eyewitness told The Nation that the suspect was killed outside a packed court room. “He was handcuffed and in police custody,” said Saleem, who preferred his single name to mentioned.

Lawyers went on strike following the latest shooting that triggered panic in the high-security zone early Monday. In a press statement, the Lahore Bar Association called for a strike on Tuesday to condemn the violence in courts premises. The legal fraternity also expressed grave concern over the poor security arrangements.

Video footage of the incident went viral on social media. The footage shows policemen dragging the blood-soaked body on the floor of the corridors and moving towards an ambulance outside the courts.

Another handcuffed suspect who was brought to the court from jail remained unhurt in the shooting. “Don’t worry about my security. We have lost everything. They have killed (us all). They have killed Acha Bhatti,” the handcuffed suspects told the on-duty policemen.

The attacker named by police as Raza Khan is said to be a hired-assassin. He was sent to unknown police facility for interrogation. The body was shifted to the morgue for an autopsy.

A police officer said one of the bullets hit the suspect in the head, resulting in his on-the-spot death. The officer who requested anonymity said the possible involvement of some policemen in the shooting could not be ruled out. He said they investigating the killing keeping in mind all aspects of the incident.  The police were investigating the shooting incident. However, no FIR was registered with the police till late Monday night.  Acha Bhatti had allegedly shot dead three people including Imran Shafi Khokhar, the nephew of MNA Afzal Khokhar and MPA Malik Saif al-Malook Khokhar over old enmity in Johar Town on January.

Early this year, three people were killed and eight others wounded critically when Aslam Bhatti along with accomplices opened gunfire on his opponents during a wedding ceremony at Topaz Marquee in Johar Town. Both the rival groups were attending the wedding ceremony as guests.

In January, a relative of one of the victims had told The Nation that at least 1500 people were attending the marriage ceremony of Malik Fahad when the shooting took place.

The Johar Town police had registered the triple murder case against nine gunmen including Aslam alias Acha Bhatti under section (302/324/148 and 149 of the PPC and 7ATA) against Aslam alias Acha Bhatti and his eight bodyguards.

According to the First Information Report, Malik Imran Shafi and his bodyguard Khalid died on the spot while Shahbaz, said to be the bodyguard of Aslam Bhatti, was killed by the firing of his own accomplices.

Another eight people were also wounded during the crossfire which continued for a considerable time. They were identified as Aqeel Abbas, Muhammad Raza, Tahseen, Muhammad Ali, Syed Abuzar Naqvi, Malik Ashraf, Haseeb Khokhar, and Malik Aslam. The condition of two of the injured was said to be critical.  Killings inside court premises are not rare in this province where thousands of people are murdered over different disputes each year. A police officer and a murder suspect were killed in a similar gun-attack in the premises of Sessions’ Court in February.

 

ASHRAF JAVED