A police official accused of fatally shooting a man near a police picket in Islamabad in the wee hours of Friday has surrendered before the police, an official said on Sunday. The officer of police’s Eagle Squad, Samiullah Niazi, had fled the scene after the incident and police had had initiated a search for the suspect.
However, two days after the incident the officials informed media that Niazi has presented himself in front of the Superintendent Police (SP) Sajid Kiani. Niazi will be taken to court on Monday, the officials confirmed.
The victim, later identified as Taimoor Riaz, a salesman of auto spare-parts, was shot dead in Islamabad’s Sector I-10/1 in the early hours of Friday after allegedly failing to stop at a checkpoint. According to source , at 4:45am on Friday a rashly-driven Toyota Corolla approached the picket set up on a link road between the I.J. Principal Road and Sector I-10 from the Islamabad side. Around three to five officials deployed at the picket signalled the driver to stop but he ignored and drive through. The officer of police’s Eagle Squad, Samiullah Niazi, who was on duty, opened fire on the car which hit the driver.
The victim was hit by three bullets – two in the back and one in the head. Station House Officer (SHO) Sabzi Mandi Saleem Shah was suspended for his failure to respond on time and arrest the officials.
The police said a woman travelling in the car with the deceased had taken him to the hospital in a taxi. The incident sparked rioting and protests on Islamabad’s IJP Road, with the victim’s family dismissing the police statement and saying there had been no prior warning or order to stop before the officer opened fire.
The police handed over the body to the relatives of the deceased after an autopsy at the hospital. The protesters took the body to the road and damaged public and private property during the protest.
They later dispersed after officials of the police and the capital administration assured them that the suspected policemen would be arrested within 48 hours. A case was registered against the officials in response to a complaint lodged by the victim’s brother on the charge of murder, the police stated.
According to the standard operating procedure (SOP), police can only fire in retaliation and self-defence, the police officer explained, adding if any person ignored the police signal to stop, they should be chased. In case of unavailability of a vehicle, the police control should be alerted to arrest the escapee. In some circumstances, the police have the permission to fire but even in that situation they should target the vehicle’s tyres or the person’s leg.
The possibility of an error cannot be ruled out as policeman’s aim may also miss the target and become lethal.” He said the spot where the incident occurred was considered dangerous and officials deployed there were always directed to be extra cautious and alert, he stated.
It was the third fatal firing incident in the same locality in two years. In 2015, police officials at a picket in the area were attacked by gunmen, resulting in the killing of an official and a passerby woman. On February 12, 2016, a police constable was killed and a head constable and an official of the Frontier Constabulary were injured in the area.