Protest ends as police offer judicial probe of woman’s death by Karachi cops’ firing

Numerous people gathered at National Highway to stage a sit-in against death of woman. — Screengrab/GeoNews
  • East DIG says woman’s death was “collateral damage”.
  • Victim’s family says they “didn’t get justice” from police.
  • Police say Steel Town SHO had no involvement in the case.

KARACHI: The hours-long sit-in at Karachi’s National Highway to protest the death of a woman allegedly by police’s firing in Steel Town last week was called off on Sunday after the latest episode of talks with the law enforcers.

Area locals and the victim’s family staged a sit-in at the National Highway — where a woman was shot dead in what police said was “collateral damage” during a purported encounter with criminals — causing massive disruption of traffic on one of the major thoroughfare that connects the metropolis with rest of the country for almost 24 hours.

A woman was reportedly killed in an exchange of fire between police and armed suspects on Gulshan-e-Hadeed Link Road in Steel Town on July 4.

The bereaved family had been seeking the registration of a first information report (FIR) against the Steel Town Police Station’s station house officer (SHO) for leading the encounter that left the woman dead.

However, police claimed that the said SHO was not engaged in the cross-firing as he was present at the police station at the time of the encounter. They said that the police party was chasing the criminals when the woman was caught in the line of fire.

The police said that they had registered a case against four cops who were part of the encounter but the family did not accept these terms. They claimed that they had the call detail record (CDR) and CCTV footage as evidence in SHO’s defence.

Meanwhile, the victim’s brother stressed that SHO should be booked as the police party couldn’t engage in an encounter with criminals without the former’s consent.

However, the family ended the protest following talks led by East Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ghulam Azfar Mahesar, saying that they “left the matter to Allah”.

The victim’s brother complained that though a case had been registered but they didn’t get justice as the authorities were “not listening” to their demands.

While speaking to the media after the negotiations, DIG Mahesar said the police party was chasing the notorious “white Corolla” gang when the victim’s car was caught in the line of fire.

He clarified that the police hadn’t registered any case against the affected family as if they were the target of the encounter.

“It was a case of collateral damage which we are investigating,” Mahesar said, adding that the police are willing to hold a judicial inquiry under whichever official or agency the family considers trustworthy.

“If policemen are at fault then they will go behind bars,” he said.

Mahesar further said that the police cannot commit “contempt of court” by lodging another FIR into the same case while referring to a Supreme Court verdict in the Sughra Bibi case.

After the protest ended, the traffic authorities initiated efforts to restore the flow of vehicles on the National Highway. 

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