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Five gunned down by rivals over land dispute

By Our Staff Reporter 2018-08-08
LA HOR E: Af ter five members of a family were allegedly shot dead by their rivals over a property dispute in Barki area on Tuesday, the relatives of the victims set ablaze houses of the suspects and later lodged strong protests against police by placing the dead bodies, first outside the Punjab Assembly and then in front of Pakistan Tehreelei-Insaf chief Imran Khan`s house in Zaman Park.

The incident occurred at Phularwan village where, according to police, two rival groups -Iftikhar Lathia and Kothiwala -were parties to a land dispute. The feud had already claimed four lives; two each from the rival groups, they said.On Tuesday, the police quoting locals said, Lathia group members opened indiscriminate fire on their rivals who were working in the fields, 1(illing Bashir Ahmad and Rasheed Ahmad (brothers), and their cousins Qadir, Qurban Ali and Tanvir on the spot. They said the attackers had already concealed the weapons in the fields as it was a planned assault.

The killings enraged the relatives of the victims who retaliated by setting five houses of the alleged attackers on fire. However, no casualty was reported as the residents had already left the houses fearing retaliation and arrests.

According to locals, the police played the role of mere spectators and did not intervene when the victims` relatives retaliated.

They said when the mob was demolishing burnt structures of the houses, some senior police officers, including Cantonment Division SP Bilal Iftikhar, were present there, with personnel of the Anti-Riot Force, but theydidn`t intervene.

Later, two fire-extinguishing vehicles of the Rescue 1122 emergency service reached the spot and controlled the fire, the locals said.

Still the situation was said to be tense in the Phularwan village and adjoining localities where armed locals, including relatives of the victims, were present.

Later, the relatives of the deceased brought the dead bodies on The Mall and lodged a strong protest outside the Punjab Assembly building. They blocked the both lanes of The Mall in protest, demanding immediate arrest of the killers.

On finding no appropriate response from the police high-ups, the protesters shifted the bodies outside the Zaman Park residence of PTI chief Imran Khan and staged a demonstration there for about an hour.

They raised slogans against the police high-ups, demanding suspension of the capital city police officer (CCPO), OperationsDIG and the Cantonment Division SP.

The protesters regretted that despite being informed about the tense situation prevailing at the village for the last three days, the police took no steps for the victims` security. They said the rival groups also had a scuffle a couple of days back and the police were aware of it, but took no measures to prevent the incident.

Mohammad Yousuf, a relative of the victims, told the media that enmity between Iftikhar Lathia and Kothiwala groups had already claimed lives of members of both groups.

He said the relatives of the deceased turned violent after none of the senior police officers visited the village, nor any assurance was given to them regarding arrest of the culprits.

According to the Lahore police`s spokesperson, the operations DIG has assigned the task of arresting the killers to Cantt Division police.