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Ahmadi leader killed in Ferozwala: Police let suspects leave with PML-N MPA
By Rana Tanveer
LAHORE: Four suspects – who remained at large for six days after their nomination in a first information report in the murder of a local Ahmadi leader were brought to a police station on Monday, but police let them leave with a member of the provincial assembly instead of arresting them, sources in the Ferozewala Police Station told Daily Times.
The sources said the MPA, a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), had brought the four suspects – Muhammad Ahmed Fridi, Inamullah, Ashraf and Haji Arshad – to the police station, and they remained there for more than an hour. They said the investigation officer listened to their side of the story, wherein they claimed they were innocent and had been wrongly implicated in the case. Following this, the police – instead of arresting them on the basis of their nomination in the FIR – let them go with the MPA, said the sources.
According to the FIR registered with the Ferozewala Police Station on January 5, two armed assailants attacked 70-year-old Muhammad Yousaf while he was at his general store in the presence of Yousaf’s sons, Fatehuddin and Mahmood Yousaf. The FIR said Yousaf was shot six times in the chest and arms and he died immediately. Yousaf was allegedly killed for reporting the assailants to police over their reported involvement in the spread of religious hatred against the Ahmadi sect and provoking people to kill Ahmadis. According to the FIR, Muhammad Ahmed Fridi, Inamullah, Ashraf and Haji Arshad abetted Yousaf’s murder.
The policeman in charge of the investigation, Sub-Inspector Rai Zulfiqar Ali, told Daily Times that the suspects came to the police station with PML-N MPA Pir Ashraf Rasool, and conceded they were allowed to leave, “as the complainant party did not come to the police station”.
MPA’s guarantee: He said the suspects were summoned to the police station on Monday to listen to arguments from both sides. He said although the four men had been named in the FIR, they were allowed to leave on the MPA’s guarantee. “The MPA will bring them to the police station on Tuesday (today),” he said.
Zulfiqar said police were trying locate the two assailants – who had not yet been identified. He said after three raids were conducted to arrest the four suspects named in the FIR, the MPA brought them to the police station.
Exonerate suspects: Yousaf’s son Fatehuddin told Daily Times that police and the MPA were giving the suspects “an undue favour”. He said efforts were being made to “exonerate the suspects because they are influential”.
He claimed that the MPA had been “sheltering the suspects since the day of the murder … they have been living with him”. He said while police summoned his family to the station on Monday, they did not go because “we were feeling insecure because of their influence”.
Azhar Siddique advocate, an expert in criminal law, told Daily Times that the police decision to let the suspects go was “gross misconduct and illegal”. He said the development showed that police were biased against the complainants.
Meanwhile, the Jamaat Ahmadia Lahore adopted a resolution against the murder of a member of their sect. Spokesman Munawar Shahid told Daily Times that his group strongly condemned the role of “extremists spreading religious hatred”. He said that with such incidents on the rise, the government must take serious notice of alleged atrocities against Ahmadis.