LAHORE: At least eight people, including women and children, of the same family were brutally murdered by unidentified persons in the precincts of Johar Town police on Tuesday.
The horrific incident sparked panic among the residents of the locality. It also reminded the people of past such events, including the murder of 13 persons – women and children among them – of the same family who were also brutally killed by unidentified assailants around 18 years ago; the murder of nine members of a family in the Hanjarwal area; and the execution of seven members of a family in the Faisal Town area a few years ago. All these cases remain untraced to date.
In the latest incident, police said that Sunny, the nephew of the deceased brothers and a resident of Garden Town, visited the victims’ house to give a wedding card in the afternoon. He rang the doorbell, but noticed that the main door was open. When no one responded, he entered the house and was shocked to see the bodies of his relatives lying in different rooms. He immediately informed the emergency police.
A number of other family members, relatives, locals, police and rescue teams gathered at the crime scene after being informed about the incident. Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Chaudhry Shafique and other officers of both the operations and investigation wings reached there. The police cordon off the entire area, collected evidence at the spot and started investigation. Police also removed the bodies to the city mortuary for autopsies, but had not registered any case until the filing of this report.
According to details, the deceased were identified as three real brothers – Shahid Iqbal, Zahid Iqbal and Nazir Iqbal – Shahid wife’s Farzana, their 12-year-old son Afaq and six-year-old daughter Areeba; Zahid wife’s Naseem and their only daughter, 10-year-old Amna, all residents of 570, E1, Johar Town.
The deceased Nazir was unmarried and a chemical engineer by profession. He had been suffering from cancer for the last few years.
Zahid taught at a private academy situated near the Punjab University New Campus. Shahid was a government contractor at the National Highway Authority (NHA).
Sources in the police department said that the victims belonged to Jahanian, and had been living in the city in a rented double-storey house for the last 12 years.
They said that preliminary investigation suggested that it was a case of killing over personal enmity, and not during a robbery, or a target killing.
They said that some unidentified persons entered the house late Monday night and gave the tenants some poisonous substance. The assailants then tortured them with, bludgeoning their heads using a hammer. Sources said that the bodies also bore stab wounds, suggesting that the victims were also attacked with sharp-edged weapons, which resulted in their instant death. The accused managed to flee the scene without being detected.
The CCPO also visited the crime scene and supervised the initial investigation procedure.
The CCPO said that all the family members were killed brutally, as the bodies were lying in different rooms of the double-storey house. He said that the police also recovered some coloured chemical powder, which might be an ammonia compound, which was used to first make them unconscious.
He said the actual cause of the death would be ascertained after the post-mortem reports and comprehensive investigation. He also constituted two separate police teams – led by Saddar SP and CIA SP – under the supervision of DIG (investigation).
According to some neighbours, they did not hear any cry or saw any persons entering or leaving the house, but some locals said that they saw some people leaving in a car. They added that on Monday night, they also noticed that two or three persons visited the house.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the murder and sought a report from the Punjab Police inspector general. He also directed the police that the culprits involved in this tragic incident be apprehended at the earliest. The chief minister expressed sorrow and grief over the loss of precious human lives.
Meanwhile, sources said that the police did not find any bruise on Nazir Iqbal’s body.
They said that the investigators were beginning to believe that Nazir killed his family members and later committed suicide, but facts would surface after the post-mortem and forensic reports.
They said that some family friends of the deceased told the police that Nazir had gone missing four years ago, but was recovered near Data Darbar last year. They also claimed that Nazir had some issues going on with the family members, and had threatened them with dire consequences.
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